MSHA Issues Report on Death at Montana Sapphire Mine

July 27, 2012

Federal mine safety officials say the owner of a central Montana sapphire mine was killed in March when rock loosened by underground blasting fell on him while he was stockpiling ore.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday that 54-year-old Michael D. Roberts failed to ensure that tests for loose ground conditions were conducted after blasting.

The MSHA report says Roberts went to the mine at approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 19 to stockpile recently blasted ore about 1.5 miles from the mine’s entrance and about 250 feet below ground.

A friend that he was staying with went to check on him at about 2 a.m. on March 20 because he hadn’t returned to the house.

The Judith Basin County coroner said Roberts died of severe trauma.

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