Mine Safety Officials Warn 8 Mines in 5 States About Repeat Violations

June 18, 2007

The federal mine safety agency said it has warned eight mining operations across the country that they may face sanctions as repeat violators of health and safety rules.

The list includes coal operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Alabama, as well as a quarry in California and an iron ore mine in Michigan, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

“The purpose of these letters is to put mine operators on notice about the repercussions they face if they repeatedly disregard mine safety and health regulations,” MSHA director Richard Stickler said. “The ultimate goal is to restore effective safe and healthy conditions at these mines.”

MSHA said it concluded each of the operations has a pattern of safety and health violations based on the last eight quarters. The agency did not identify the violations.

The notification is the first step toward what could be temporary shutdowns. Each operation has 90 days to significantly reduce the rate of violations under monitoring. If the operations don’t improve enough, MSHA said it can shut them down until problems are eliminated.

The operations cited are Massey Energy Co.’s Chess Processing Plant and the Black King I North Portal underground mine, West Virginia; Peachtree Ridge Mining’s Eagle No. 1 mine, West Virginia; James River Coal Co.’s No. 77 mine and Left Fork Mining’s Straight Creek No. 1, Kentucky; the Oak Grove Mine, Alabama; Oro Grande Quarry, California; and Tilden Mining’s iron ore mine, Michigan.

Officials at the mines either did not return calls or declined to comment.

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