Alcoa mines lignite coal to provide fuel for power generation at Rockdale. Currently Alcoa mines this energy source from the Three Oaks Mine, which contains enough lignite reserves to supply Rockdale Operations for approximately 30 years.
Alcoa began an active reclamation program of the Sandow mine, Alcoa's original source of lignite, in the early 1970s, five years before legislation was passed requiring restoration of mined lands. Since 1980, more than 6,000 acres of mined land have been reclaimed.
Reclamation programs have resulted in the planting of a half million trees representing more than 30 different species on previously mined and now reclaimed land.
In 1998, the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Surface Mining named Sandow Mine's Reclamation Program the best of the best among all surface mines in the nation.