Navajo Transitional Energy Company Earns Two National Awards for Mine Safety and Stewardship of Natural Resources through Reclamation

NTEC continues to protect its people and strategically conserve the environment

Washington, DC – November 11th, 2022 – Yesterday, the National Mining Association (NMA) and the US Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) honored Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) with two prestigious, national awards; one for mine safety and the other for environmental stewardship through reclamation at NTEC’s Navajo Mine.

Located on the Navajo Nation, a vast Indian reservation that spans three states with boundaries that encompass 27,000 square miles of traditional Navajo homelands, the Navajo Mine is the first tribally owned coal mining company to operate a coal mine on tribal land. “We take our commitment to the Navajo People, our sole shareholder, very seriously,” said Vern Lund, Chief Executive Officer at Navajo Transitional Energy Company. “That’s why our standards of excellence for safety and for reclamation of the environment are second to none.” This year, as proof of that commitment, the company received NMA’s “Sentinels of Safety” award in the Large Surface Coal Mine category.  The Sentinels of Safety award is the nation’s preeminent award for mine safety and is awarded each year to the mine with the best safety record in the entire country. Earning this recognition underscores the value NTEC puts on its most important resource at the Navajo Mine, its miners. With a majority Navajo workforce NTEC puts the safety of its employees first. “The tradition of superior safety practices is in our DNA,” said Lund. “We couldn’t maintain that tradition without our incredible team, and I’m so proud to see their efforts honored in this way.”


This is not the first time NTEC’s Navajo Mine has been recognized for its commitment to safety. 

Previous safety awards include:

2022 – Safety Award for Large Surface Mine from the Rocky Mountain Coal Institute

2021– Certificate of Achievement in Safety from the Mine Safety Health Administration

2021 – Sentinels of Safety (Surface Mine) from the National Mining Association 

2021 – National Mine Safety & Health Training Award in the Industry Coal Surface Category from the Interstate Mining Compact Commission 

2020 – Safety Award for Large Surface Mine from the Rocky Mountain Coal Institute 

2020 – Certificate of Achievement in Safety from the Mine Safety Health Administration

2019 – Certificate of Achievement in Safety from the Mine Safety Health Administration 

2018 – Sentinels of Safety Award (for the Navajo Mine’s Coal Handling Facility) 


In an unprecedented achievement, NTEC was also recognized for its careful stewardship of the Navajo land and environment by OSMRE and received its National Award for Excellence in Surface Mining Reclamation for reclamation work at the Navajo Mine.  “OSMRE’s National Award is the highest honor a mining reclamation project can receive,” wrote Glenda H. Owens, Deputy Director of OSMRE. No surface mine has ever received both a Sentinels of Safety and a National Reclamation award in a single year before.

NTEC worked diligently for years to earn this honor by bringing 61 acres of the Upper Chinde Wetland Complex and Lower Chinde Wash Wetlands back to life at the Navajo Mine. The project involved geomorphic reclamation techniques, soil mitigation, vegetation re-establishment, headcut stabilization, wildlife management, and hydrologic inputs. Previously vacated by almost all wildlife, this complex, biodiverse area has now been restored as a native riparian and wetland habitat, home to a variety of species ranging from birds to badgers and beavers to bobcats. This reclamation project has also made the land more resilient to drought conditions which are becoming increasingly frequent.

The Navajo Mine has been recognized by OSMRE in previous years for other excellent reclamation efforts, including awards in 2020 for watershed design at South Barber Watershed, in 2019 for educational initiatives in the community, and in 2016 for redesign and replacement of the Chinde Diversion and restoration of the Upper Chinde Wetlands.

“Our goal is to continue bringing the values of the Navajo Nation to life by restoring environmental equilibrium and investing responsibly in the energy of tomorrow,” said Vern Lund, Chief Executive Officer at NTEC.



NTEC is an autonomous single-member limited liability company, organized under the laws of the Navajo Nation, that owns mines in Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The mission of NTEC is to be a reliable, safe producer of coal, while diversifying the Navajo Nation’s energy resources to create economic sustainability for the Nation and the Navajo people. NTEC’s sole shareholder is the Navajo Nation. NTEC is a recognized leader in safety and reclamation, having been awarded the Sentinels of Safety award from the National Mining Association, the Good Neighbor Award from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and the 2019 Excellence in Reclamation award by the New Mexico Mining Association. For more information about NTEC, visit