Curtis Tate Published

Second W.Va. Coal Miner Dies On The Job In Less Than 2 Weeks

A memorial at the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine represents the 29 coal miners who were killed in an explosion in 2010.

A coal miner was killed on Thursday in Kanawha County, the second mine fatality in West Virginia in less than two weeks.

Kris Ball, 34, of Hart, died at the Coalburg Tunnel Mine in Kanawha County, according to Gov. Jim Justice. The mine is owned by Blackhawk Mining Company.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will issue a preliminary report on Ball’s death in the next several days.

Ball’s death follows that of William Richards on Aug. 17 at the Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County.

Including Ball and Richards, four coal miners have been killed on the job in West Virginia this year, according to MSHA records. Nine have died nationwide. Ten coal miners were killed last year.

In 2020, as demand for coal collapsed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, five miners were killed, the lowest number on record since 1900.