Arch Coal unit cited by MSHA over Mountaineer II fatality

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued on citation to the Mingo Logan Coal unit of Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI) over an August 2011 fatal accident at the Mountaineer II longwall mine in Logan County, W.Va.

Charles Hall, a 46-year old general laborer on the Move Crew, was killed during installation of cribs in the face area on the 1 Right Headgate, said an MSHA final accident report released March 26. Hall was struck by falling rock from the mine roof while building a wooden crib where the No. 8 longwall shield had been removed.

The citation said the company had not followed the Approved Roof Control Plan on the 1st Right Longwall Section, which resulted in the fatality. “Evidence collected during the investigation of the accident revealed that visible cribs, constructed during the removal of the previous four longwall shields, (Shields 9-12) had been constructed primarily in the bolted walkway, instead of in the designated area adjacent to the shields being removed,” said the final report. “Additionally, the crib installation after the removal of longwall Shield No. 8 did not adhere to the approved plan, in that the crib nearest to the gob (caved area) was being built first and preparations were being made to build a second crib between the gob line crib and the immediate longwall face.”

The Mountaineer II mine employed at the time of the accident 305 persons, including 25 surface personnel. The mine produces about 32,000 tons of coal daily from the five continuous mining machine sections and one longwall section, during two production shifts and one maintenance shift. The mine is operated in the Alma coal seam, which is accessed by one slope and five shaft openings. The seam height is approximately 72 inches, MSHA noted.

Mountaineer II is part of Arch’s Mountain Laurel complex, which is an underground and surface mining operation located about 38,300 acres in Logan and Boone counties. This longwall mine is expected to operate through at least 2018 and potentially longer, Arch noted in its Feb. 29 annual Form 10-K report. In addition, the existing reserve base should support non-longwall, continuous miner operations for many years beyond that date.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.