Tag Archives | Coal Mine

5 years after a deadly coal mine disaster, what’s changed?

Mason Adams Via Grist:

It was mid-afternoon on the Monday after Easter, April 5, 2010, when a 1,000-foot longwall shearer, a massive piece of industrial coal-mining equipment, bit into sandstone, kicking up sparks and igniting a methane fireball that traveled down the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, W.Va., into an area rich with coal dust.

The resulting explosion ricocheted in several directions, tearing through two and a half miles of mine, killing 29 of 31 men working in the area and searing the mine into history as the site of the most deadly coal-related disaster in nearly 40 years.

Five years later, the explosion continues to reverberate, in the courts and elsewhere.

Former Upper Big Branch supervisor Gary May was sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to disabling a methane gas monitor, falsifying mine records, and generally obstructing safety inspectors.

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Explosion Traps Dozens Of New Zealand Miners

Again? Hopefully this time the miners won’t have to wait 2 months to see sunlight again. The New York Times reports:

At least two dozen men were trapped underground after an explosion on Friday rocked the country’s largest coal mine in a mountainous region in the country’s South Island.

Authorities said it was too early to determine a cause of the explosion, and said no deaths had been reported from the accident. Local media reported two people had been pulled safely from the collapsed mine, located near the town of Atarau near the west coast of the South Island.

Earlier in the day Pike River Coal, the company operating the mine, said 27 people were in the mine, but it was not clear whether the two men who had emerged were included in that figure. The New Zealand National Police was unable to confirm the exact number missing.

Rescue teams were assessing the safety of the mine before beginning their descent, trying to make sure vents were clear and that gas would not build up in the mine, local media reported.

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