Silver Winner: Gary Johnson, Environmental Superintendent ROBU/Kettle River-Buckhorn

Silver Winner:
Gary Johnson
Environmental Superintendent ROBU/Kettle River-Buckhorn 

As the Environmental Superintendent at ROBU/Kettle River-Buckhorn, Gary is faced with the challenging task of transforming the mine from operation to reclamation.

Kettle River concluded mining operations in fall 2017 and quickly initiated reclamation activities before the winter months approached. Gary led the project, focusing on time, energy and cost savings to complete these important tasks quickly, innovatively, thoroughly and efficiently.

On two occasions, Gary led his team to complete tasks ahead of schedule and budget. First, his team reclaimed the haul road from the mine to the mill in five weeks as opposed to their eight week timeline, and then transferred the Buckhorn mine to ROBU-reclamation status in six weeks as opposed to eight. The reclamation efforts at Buckhorn were so efficient, the Company saved hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result, optimizing cash flow.

In 2018, Gary and his team safely remove all infrastructure and completed re-contouring and re-vegetation of the area. He then created an innovative method for encapsulation of sulfate bearing rocks on the site instead of transferring them 50-miles for management in the tailings facility.

“Gary’s hard work and dedication has been noted by colleagues and community members,” said a colleague. “His goal was to be as successful in closure as we were during operations – because he knows our reclamation efforts will be the legacy we leave behind for future generations.”

Gary’s love for mining and commitment to his community comes from his family of miners. His father, and 2015 LOVA Outstanding Corporate Citizenship winner, Tom Johnson, was a long-time mine geologist at Kettle River-Buckhorn before he retired in 2017. Watch this video about the father-son duo’s journey to mining here.

Gary looks out to the reclamation site 

Gary and his father, former LOVA winner, Tom Johnson 

Gary and Tom 

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