A Silverton native with more than four decades working in the mining industry received a lifetime environmental achievement award this week from the National Mining Association.
Larry Perino, who retired last year from Sunnyside Gold Corp. in Silverton, received the achievement award Tuesday for “outstanding contributions and excellence in environmental reclamation and stewardship that illustrate the mining industry’s commitment to environmental responsibility, sustainability and community partnerships,” the NMA announced in a news release. The mining industry organization said Perino focused his career on reclamation and remediation.
“Larry’s leadership is symbolic of how committed we are to being valued members of each community in which we live and work,” Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO, said in the release.
Perino spent the bulk of his 40-plus years in the mining industry with Sunnyside Gold Corp., in various positions, including a construction engineer, chief engineer and mine superintendent. Sunnyside was a primary operator in Silverton’s mining industry until it closed its last operating mine, the Sunnyside, in 1991. Perino stayed with Sunnyside, transitioning to a position focused on repairing the damage that decades of mining did to the area, particularly degrading the water quality of the Animas River.
Perino, who is a second-generation Silvertonian, did not work as a miner but was at Sunnyside during its busiest mining days in Silverton during the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003, Sunnyside Gold was bought by Kinross Gold Corp., an international mining organization.
In recent years, Sunnyside Gold Corp. has been named in a number of lawsuits in New Mexico, Utah and Navajo Nation related to the Gold King Mine spill in 2015. The lawsuits allege Sunnyside installed bulkheads in the 1990s backing up the Sunnyside Mine and causing other mines, like Gold King Mine, to discharge wastewater.
“As a longtime SGC employee and a lifelong Silverton, Colorado, resident, Larry is one of the most respected and knowledgeable local experts in his field,” said Gina Myers, Sunnyside Gold Corp.’s director of reclamation operations, in an emailed statement. “Larry has worked on many reclamation projects during his career, but perhaps the most impactful are the improvements in Animas River water quality, largely due to his efforts working at SGC.”
This is not the first award Perino received for his work in Silverton with Sunnyside Gold Corp. He has received awards from the Bureau of Land Management and the American Exploration and Mining Association.