On September 8th, 2011, the Mining and Minerals Division of the New Mexico Energy, Mining and Natural Resources Department presented INTERA's Larry M. Coons, P.E. with the 2011 Excellence in Reclamation Award for his work at the former Velarde Mill near Velarde, New Mexico. From the early 1980s until 2005, the Velarde Mill processed mica ore mined from the US Hill Mine located 25 miles northeast of the Velarde Mill in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range within the Picuris Pueblo Grant. The award, presented at this year's New Mexico Mining Association Convention in the Pueblo of Santa Ana, recognized Mr. Coons for his success in reclaiming technically challenging tailings ponds through the use of a stable positive-draining landform and aesthetically pleasing vegetative cover at the former Mill site.