June 6, 2019 - Peabody's Derek Launius was named "Reclamationist of the Year" this week by the American Society of Mining and Reclamation (ASMR) for his outstanding accomplishments in the evaluation and application of technology used in land restoration.
Launius, a senior environmental engineer at Peabody's Arclar Complex in Illinois, is responsible for land stewardship at Arclar and closed operations in Illinois. Launius coordinated final reclamation and inspections at several of Peabody's former mining sites, including Big Ridge and Eagle Valley mines. He was instrumental in achieving bond release for the properties and returning the land to productive farm use, forest and wildlife habitat. He is also responsible for leading ongoing reclamation at the Wildcat Hills-Cottage Grove Mine near Equality, Ill., where the vast majority of land is reclaimed to prime farmland standards.
"Derek has served as a leader of our Midwest reclamation efforts for many years and is well deserving of this recognition," said Kemal Williamson, Peabody President – Americas. "We congratulate him on his successful work to restore the land for generations that follow."
Launius began his career with Peabody in 2007, working in operations before joining the reclamation team. Incorporating his expertise in agriculture and land management, Launius has devised successful reclamation plans beginning with extensive soil sampling, along with innovative practices to ensure successful crop yields. His expertise in soil segregation practices and crop selection and rotation have greatly improved reclamation success on Peabody's mined lands. In many instances, crop yields on the reclaimed land not only meet, but surpass established productivity standards. In addition to generating productive farmlands, the lands under Launius's oversight provide habitat for countless geese, deer and other wildlife.
Launius's reclamation best practices have been shared across Peabody's operations and with local farmers and professionals with interest in farming reclaimed mine lands.
Launius is the ninth Peabody employee since 1985 to have received the "Reclamationist of the Year" award from ASMR.
Peabody is the leading global pure-play coal company and a member of the Fortune 500, serving power and steel customers in more than 25 countries on six continents. Peabody offers significant scale, high-quality assets, and diversity in geography and products. Peabody is guided by seven core values: safety, sustainability, leadership, customer focus, integrity, excellence and people.