Jul 31 2019 11:00 AM

San Miguel Electric Cooperative Hosts Award-Winning TMRA Teacher Workshop Program

San Miguel Electric Cooperative hosts Award-Winning TMRA Teacher Workshop Program, where Texas science teachers learn first-hand about lignite mining.

CHRISTINE, Texas [July 31, 2019] – On July 16, the San Miguel Electric Cooperative (SMEC) gave a tour of the San Miguel Power Plant and lignite mine to a group of science teachers as a part of the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association’s (TMRA) award-winning Teacher Workshop program. SMEC hosted 11 teachers from schools across the state of Texas, including one from Virginia, along with five TMRA staff members.

SMEC is an electric cooperative based in Christine, Texas. Its power plant and nearby lignite mine produce 391 net megawatts of affordable, reliable electricity for nine member cooperatives across 42 South Texas counties.

The lignite mine tour is part of the Teacher Workshop program that TMRA offers each summer. Texas teachers learn science-based information on the availability, importance and development of natural resources, including lignite, uranium and industrial minerals. During these week-long sessions, which are free to teachers, educators tour mines and power plant facilities, visit reclamation areas and participate in hands-on labs. Teachers return to their classrooms with earth science facts and real-world, problem-solving activities that encourage students to use critical thinking skills.

During the San Miguel mine tour, SMEC Reclamation Supervisor, Joe Harris, showed the teachers the heavy equipment involved in the strip-mining process – because it’s done in strips – including the operation of the Marion 8200 Dragline. They also had the opportunity to collect coal samples from an active mining pit. Following the mine tour, SMEC Plant Manager, Dan Cates, gave a bus tour around the power plant, explaining the various processes involved in producing energy from lignite coal.

On July 18, the teachers returned to San Miguel to view the post-mine reclamation areas to learn about the processes SMEC uses to restore the land and return it to the landowners for the beneficial use of generations to come.

“The tour of our plant gives science teachers the information they need to share the story of lignite mining and power generation with their students and colleagues,” said SMEC General Manager, Mike Kezar. “They learned how SMEC uses its resources to provide low-cost electricity from lignite coal, while doing so in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.”

Through the TMRA Teacher Workshops, more than 1.5 million students so far have now heard the true story of Texas mining and reclamation. The program is recognized by the Governor’s Conference on Math, Science and Technology, and is certified by the Texas Environmental Education Advisory Council. It is designated a professional development provider by the State Board of Education Certification.

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About San Miguel Electric Cooperative

The San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a member-owned mining and power generation cooperative that serves the people of Texas' rural communities, working and living in partnership with its members. Through integrity, hard work and a commitment to safety, San Miguel maintains a dependable power supply at the lowest possible and competitive cost. Visit San Miguel Electric Cooperative for more information