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Massey Mines Cited by Feds for Violations

By Kirsten E. Silven - 29 Mar 2011 6:1:0 GMT
Massey Mines Cited by Feds for Violations

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced that Massey Energy Company will be cited for more than 80 safety violations that have been revealed as a result of the special inspections that are targeting problem US mines. A total of eight mines in five states have received more than 165 citations as a result of February's special inspections.

Direector Joe Main stated, ''MSHA has been conducting these inspections for nearly a year and, while some operators have been responsive and showed a willingness to change, others continue to commit the same serious violations.''

Known as ''impact inspections,'' the agency launched the effort after almost 30 miners were killed on April 5, 2010 in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine, which is operated by Massey. Two other Massey mines in West Virginia, as well as one in Kentucky, were issued more than half of the violations issued recently. In addition, the MSHA also issued citations to three other coal mines in Kentucky and Alabama, as well as to a stone quarry located in Pennsylvania.43 of the citations were issued at Massey subsidiary Process Energy's mine in Pike County, Kentucky, where nearly half of the offenses are considered likely to result in additional injuries. At the other three offending Massey locations, the MSHA said the rate of critical violations it found is above 60 percent, including 11 at Elk Run Coal's Seng Creek Powellton mine, which is located in Boone County, just over 40 miles from Charleston.

It was at this location that a previous inspection in the fall of 2010 turned up a number of violations that could have caused an explosion, which Massey said resulted in several miners being fired or suspended. Specifically, the MSHA found the mine was cutting too deeply into the coal seam and was not performing required testing for dangerous gases.