Arch Resources Inc. has committed a $500,000 gift to the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources (SER) to advance the school’s globally recognized carbon management initiatives as well as its ongoing efforts to drive innovative land reclamation practices.
The gift will augment the Arch Resources Technology and Sustainability Fund, an existing endowment the company first established more than a decade ago and that was matched by the state at that time. The gift reflects Arch’s deep and long-standing commitment to Wyoming and to the highest principles of sustainability and good corporate citizenship.
“The School of Energy Resources is focused on supporting the state’s energy sector, including to minimize the impact of energy production while maintaining and preserving Wyoming’s natural environment,” says SER Executive Director Holly Krutka. “We are incredibly grateful to Arch for its commitment to support the state of Wyoming and for this generous gift that will allow us to work toward important environmental applications such as reducing global CO2 emissions and optimal approaches to reclamation.”
One of the state’s oldest and largest coal producers, Arch currently operates the Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines in Campbell County, where it employs more than 1,100 people. Since initiating operations in Wyoming more than 50 years ago, Arch has paid bonus bids, royalties, ad valorem taxes and severance taxes that have resulted in more than $4 billion in revenue for the state and Campbell County while paying more than $3 billion in wages and benefits to its Wyoming-based workforce.
“We greatly value our deep and long-standing partnership with the state of Wyoming and are equally appreciative of the tremendous contribution the people of the state have made to our long-term success,” says Arch CEO and President Paul Lang. “We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate our great appreciation via this gift to the university and specifically to the School of Energy Resources, which we view as a global leader in building the bridge to a more promising, productive and healthy energy future.”
Lang served as a member of the Energy Research Council (ERC) board, which governs the School of Energy Resources, for 10 years starting with its inaugural year, and he departed as chairman of the ERC in 2016.
In addition to supporting the energy-driven research efforts led by SER, Arch also has moved proactively to protect the long-term environmental and financial health of the state via the establishment of an industry-first thermal mine reclamation fund. Through this fund, Arch has taken steps to ensure that the necessary cash is available -- when the time comes -- to complete final reclamation at its Wyoming operations.
In its more than 50 years in the state, Arch has successfully and effectively operated and reclaimed mines in Sweetwater and Carbon counties. In the past 18 months, Arch has reclaimed approximately 75 percent of its Coal Creek mine -- work that was recognized by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality with the 2022 Excellence in Mining Reclamation Award for Coal -- while maintaining a small active operation at the site.
While the preparations for final closure are necessary given the ongoing decline in U.S. thermal coal demand, Arch is striving to ensure that its many stakeholders -- including employees, neighboring communities and customers -- are kept informed about the plans for the transition and given as much lead time as possible to prepare for it.
“We view world-class reclamation as an essential component of the mining process,” Lang says. “We believe it is our job -- as a responsible natural resource company -- is to leave the land in a natural and highly productive condition that can benefit greatly future generations. Just as important, we are committed to remaining engaged with the state and the surrounding communities for as long as it takes to ensure that we achieve a positive outcome on this front.”
“Arch Resources’ support of the University of Wyoming has been a part of the company’s more than 50-year operating history in the state,” says Angela Ver Ploeg, UW Foundation director of corporate engagement. “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to connect with the Arch team to help share the story of coal in Wyoming and to partner on impactful opportunities that make a meaningful difference to the energy industry in Wyoming.”