Mining

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

Alpha Natural Resources has announced the transfer of mostly idle mining properties in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee to Lexington Coal Co., related ongoing royalty payments and reclamation equipment.

Alpha, based in Kingsport, Tennessee, says that eliminates self-bonding in West Virginia nine years early.

Reid Frazier/ The Allegheny Front

For the past few weeks, we’ve been following the story of Dave Hathaway, a laid off miner from Greene County, Pennsylvania, as part of our series The Struggle to Stay.

Late in 2016, he got a job offer for a company that was doing blasting work. It was great money, and a steady day shift. But it was in Maryland. He’d have to spend four nights a week in a hotel, leaving Ashley to take care of newborn Deacon. “We agreed I pretty much had to do it,” he said. “I didn’t have any funds coming in.”

Coal Fatalities Rise: Miner Deaths Increase Amid Low Coal Employment

Sep 1, 2017
MSHA

  A rash of fatal coal mining accidents in the Ohio Valley region pushed the nation’s total number of mining deaths to a level not seen since 2015, sparking concern among safety advocates.

AllVoices.com

A new federal report shows West Virginia's economic output rose 3 percent in the first quarter of this year led by mining.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis says the state's increase in gross domestic product trailed only Texas' 3.9 percent.

Benny Becker

Back in March, Inside Appalachia aired a report about a rise in the number of chronic black lung cases. Since then, NPR’s ongoing investigation uncovered an additional 1,000 cases of the worst form of black lung disease in Appalachia. 

AllVoices.com

Federal officials say the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has failed numerous times to enforce state rules governing the coal-mining industry.

A three-year investigation by the Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Enforcement concluded that the department exhibited a lack of proper water quality monitoring, poor oversight of reclamation standards and inconsistent efforts to ensure mountaintop removal doesn't cause localized flooding.

Underground Fires, Toxins in Unfunded Cleanup of Old Mines

Jan 28, 2017
Rob Rice, left, chief of the West Virginia Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation, and planner Jonathan Knight check on the smoldering underground fire at a long-abandoned coal mine in Preston County, W.Va.
Michael Virtanen / Associated Press

PRESTON COUNTY — An underground coal mine fire burns beneath a sprawling hillside in West Virginia, the pale, acrid smoke rising from gashes in the scarred, muddy earth only a stone's throw from some houses.

 

The fire, which may have started with arson, lightning or a forest fire, smoldered for several years before bursting into flames last July in rural Preston County. The growing blaze moved the mine to the top of a list of thousands of problem decades-old coal sites in West Virginia awaiting cleanup and vying for limited federal funds.

 

Don Blankenship
Joel Ebert / The Charleston Gazette-Mail

A panel of appellate judges has affirmed a ruling that sent former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to prison.  The decision means he’ll serve out the remainder of his one-year prison term in a California penitentiary. 

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
Robert PEnergy / wikimedia commons

The nation's coal mines are nearing a record low mark for on-the-job deaths for the third year in a row and have a chance to keep the number of fatal accidents in single digits for the first time.

With just a day left in 2016, U.S. coal mines have recorded nine deaths. West Virginia had four, Kentucky had two and there was one each in Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The low number can be attributed to far fewer coal mining jobs and tougher enforcement of mining safety rules.

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

Prosecutors say another former water testing lab employee is expected to plead guilty in a false sampling scheme for southern West Virginia coal mines.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that federal court documents filed Thursday show John Brewer reached a proposed plea agreement on one count of falsifying water sample reports.

Coal developers working against the trend of mine closures and bankruptcies say a $90 million investment will enable them to open two new mines in West Virginia and Virginia next year.

The mines would extract metallurgical coal, the type used for steel production. Most metallurgical coal in the U.S. is exported to other countries.

Wikimedia Commons / Andrew Springer

West Virginia environmental regulators are ordering a company to stop mining permanently at a surface coal mine near Kanawha State Forest.

Keystone Industries LLC signed the consent order with the Department of Environmental Protection last month to permanently halt Kanawha County mining operations near Marmet.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

A Wyoming County mine that was idled on Monday after a contract dispute is back in business.

Wyoming County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

A mining company has agreed to plug the water wells on a Wyoming County road, where residents say it's responsible for property damage after an explosion.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Pinnacle Mining Company agreed to pay for the wells to be plugged and to monitor the Pineville area for methane gas after last month's hearing in federal court.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

A Cleveland mining company has closed its remaining coal business with the sale of two coal mines in Alabama and West Virginia.

Cliffs Natural Resources announced the sale Tuesday of Pinnacle Mine in West Virginia and Oak Grove Mine in Alabama to Seneca Coal Resources. 

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

West Virginia environmental officials say they're monitoring an underground coal mine fire in Preston County.

AP Photo/Jeff Gentner

There’s been landmark news here in the coalfields.

After 10 days of deliberation, jurors have found former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship guilty of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards.

http://www.murrayenergycorp.com/

A woman let go by a West Virginia mining company has filed a federal lawsuit claiming she lost her job to a man because of her gender and pregnancy.

The Dominion Post reports that Alyssa Moate Larry filed the suit against Marion County Coal Co. The subsidiary of Murray Energy operates the Loveridge Mine.

You’re probably well aware that in places like southern West Virginia, it’s really tough right now for coal miners, their families and many communities. So many miners have been laid off these past few years, and those who have a job don’t have a lot of hope that they will be able to keep what they have for much longer.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The unincorporated town of Comfort, West Virginia, is made up of two gas stations and an elementary school. All three sit along a winding, two lane road that on any given day is peppered with trucks carry loads of coal. Coal they picked up at the Kanawha Eagle mining complex a few hundred feet down the road, but the last several years have been tough for the industry and now fewer and fewer of those trucks roll through. 

The Miner

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