Curtis Tate Published

Coal Miner With 53 Years Experience Dies On The Job In Mingo County

A close up on a coal miner's helmet.
The first mining fatality of 2023 happened in Mingo County.

A 73-year-old coal miner who was killed on the job in Mingo County becomes the first mining fatality of 2023.

William Mapes, a contractor for Central Appalachian Mining, had 53 years of mining experience.

No further details were immediately available on what caused Mapes’ death.

According to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, 10 coal miners died on the job in 2022 and 10 in 2021. Five died in 2020, the lowest number on record back to 1900.

Coal production collapsed in 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, then made a modest rebound in 2021 as the economy recovered and demand for energy increased.

Prior to Mapes, the last coal mine fatality in West Virginia was in September in Kanawha County.