Reclamation Process

Picture of a Pond

BNI Coal is committed to protecting the quality of North Dakota's land, air and water. After all, this is our home - most of our employees are native North Dakotans.

The law requires that the reclaimed land be at least as productive as it was prior to mining. That means if the land we mine once grew crops, it must be able to do so again after reclamation.

The cost to reclaim one acre of land averages about $20,000 and can run as high as $50,000. BNI Coal has also invested tens of millions of dollars in the equipment necessary for the reclamation process. We will continue to remain at the forefront of reclamation technology to ensure the safety and well-being of our natural resources for generations to come.

Steps Taken

Grade Soil to AOC (Approximate Original Contour)

Step 1

Every aspect of the reclamation of lignite mined land by BNI Coal (BNI) must be approved by the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC). Our engineers ensure that the information supplied to the PSC is comprehensive and accurate.

Re-spread Topsoil & Subsoil

Step 2

Reclamation starts using diesel powered earth-moving equipment to contour the land to specific elevation as stated in the approved mining permit. Using earth moving equipment, specific depth of the subsoil and all of the topsoil removed prior to mining are replaced in two separate operations.

Prepare Land for Seeding (Chisel, Harrow, Rock Picking, Seeding)

Step 3

Following soil placement, large surface rocks are removed, and a firm seedbed is prepared prior to seeding the land. A grass drill or conventional grain drill are used to plant annual small grain crops, introduced hay or native grasses.

Environmental Monitoring For Bond Release

Step 4

The post-mine use of the land may differ from its original use, depending upon the requests of the landowner, the regulatory agency and BNI Coal. However, the reclaimed land must be as productive as it was prior to mining.

Bond Release - Land Released From Bond

Step 5

A law passed in 1989 requires that all land disturbed by mining must remain under performance bond for a minimum of ten years from the date of seeding. BNI is required to prove statistically that all reclamation parameters have been met. Only then will the performance bond be removed.