Craig Smith has 40 years’ experience in geology, mining and reclamation. Educated California Humboldt State University, his career started 1974 at the California Coastal Commission, as geologist and permit analyst. Craig soon realized greater creativity and a larger, positive impact on the environment was possible, if he worked directly in mining. [His father and grandfather had roots in mining, the gold and coal mines of Colorado and Utah]. Opportunity arrived: 1975 reclamation legislation and mining companies desiring geology, reclamation and mine planning talent. Craig’s family background of mining, ranching and farming was viewed as a plus.


In September of 1975 Craig went to work for Grefco, a USA diatomite and perlite mining firm in Lompoc California. Together with colleague’s Joe Horton, Dave Jenkins and Chris Hood, concurrent mining and reclamation plans were developed and implemented between 1975 and 1992. The team realized a mine savings could be achieved by pre-planning the excavation and reclamation, moving the material just once to mine ore. Corporate management accepted an increase in pre-planning labor cost for less mine cost and reduced reclamation risk in the long term. The team’s best concurrent mine and reclamation example is the Burney mine, opened 1985, and operating today as an industry model for reclamation.

Burney Reclaimed Mine to Forest 2016
Burney California, Diatomite Mine 2016

In 1992 Craig changed jobs to World Minerals and gained USA and international experience in computer mine and reclamation modeling. The Mine Planning team of Craig, Todd Sylvester, Joe Levay, Michel Houseman, Dave Jenkins and David Londono, began implementing concurrent mine and reclamation plans worldwide. The 3D modeling simulated extractions of the ore deposits. This allowed better control of ore quality, mine costs, keeping the reclamation vision in sight and reclamation liability under control. Reclamation awards were achieved at Quincy Washington in 1998 and Murat France in 2002.