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Mining News


Mine Closure to Cost 215 Jobs.

By Mike Gorrell
The Salt Lake Tribune

Central Utah's struggling economy took another hit Tuesday: The Skyline Mine will shut down by next summer because of low coal prices and insufficient markets. The Wasatch Plateau mine employed around 215 people, primarily from Sanpete and Carbon counties, and produced about 3.5 million tons of coal in 2002. But with the cost of coal down nearly $12 per ton from levels 20 years ago and the Pacific Rim export market nonexistent, Skyline's majority owner -- Arch Coal Inc. -- announced it will phase out production at the mine and keep it closed until economic conditions improve markedly.

"It's been a real difficult time for the Utah market," said Dick Pick, president of Canyon Fuel Co., the mine operator jointly owned by Arch Coal (65 percent) and Itochu Corp. (35 percent).

"Utah mines used to export more than 3 million tons to Japan. We don't export any coal to Japan anymore," he said. "Our other [United States] markets are in the Midwest and East, but there's a lot of coal produced between here and there, so it's difficult to move coal from Utah to the Midwest."


Added mine locations in Utah page.


Andalex, Intermountain Power secure Whitmore Canyon tract.

Andalex Resources Inc. and Intermountain Power Agency have been accepted as the successful bidder for the 1,646.34 acre Whitmore Canyon coal tract. Andalex and Intermountain Power submitted a bonus bid of $11,459,900 for the federal coal lease, according to Utah Bureau of Land Management State Director Sally Wisely. The Whitmore Canyon tract is located in Carbon County, approximately four miles north of East Carbon City.

The tract, containing an estimated 14.8 million tons of recoverable high volatile B bituminous coal, is adjacent to the companies' West Ridge underground coal mine. The companies project the that West Ridge mine will operate at a level of approximately three million tons of coal per year.

In addition to the bonus bid, the companies will pay annual rental of $4,941 and an 8 percent royalty on all future coal mined from the tract. One-half of the bonus bid along with 50 percent of all rental and royalties collected on coal produced from the Whitmore Canyon lease will be transferred to the state of Utah.


Kennecott Utah Copper to shut concentrator plant.

Rio Tinto Plc's U.S. subsidiary Kennecott Utah Copper said Tuesday it will permanently close its North Concentrator copper plant near Magna, Utah, adjust mining operations and outsource smelter maintenance to cut costs and improve productivity.

The closure of the 60,000 tons-per-year North plant, where operations were temporarily suspended in June, was a move to help secure Kennecott's future amid the "deterioration in copper prices, the company said.

Kennecott concentrate sales averaging about 100,000 tons annually will cease as a result, while an associated rail system will also be shut down. Based on a lower ore grade, company copper output in 2002 should reach about 320,000 tons.

Failed negotiations between Kennecott and union representatives led Kennecott to outsource servicing at its nearby copper smelter, affecting roughly 150 jobs there, Kennecott said. Changes at the concentrator will affect about 30 jobs.

"These are tough but necessary actions for our operations in response to the difficult economic climate. We must reduce overall costs by 20 percent and improve productivity significantly," stated Kennecott President and Chief Executive Bruce Farmer.


If all goes as planned, state Route 191 near Helper will be closed for several days while two huge fans blow methane and possibly other noxious gases out of a coal mine that was sealed after an explosion and fire killed two miners more than a year ago.

When attempts to put out the subterranean fires in the Willow Creek Mine resulting from the July 31, 2000, accident were unsuccessful, the mine's two main portals were covered with earth to suffocate the flames.

Work crews began removing the earthen plugs Wednesday. Electric fans 11 feet in diameter, used to circulate fresh air throughout the mine when coal is being extracted, will be turned on, possibly today, near the portal entries, to force out more than a year's accumulation of gases.

The work is being carried out by Amwest Exploration Co. of Helper, which may resume mining operations if its reclamation efforts are successful. Officials with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration are also at the mine, monitoring operation.

Gary Barker, directing the ventilation project for Amwest Exploration, said no one is sure what kind of potentially dangerous gases have collected in the mine since it was closed down, but the most common is methane gas.

"It contains several dangerous gases, including methane, or natural gas, low levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. When conditions are right, we will turn on the fans and that will ventilate the mine,'' said Barker. "Just how long it will take to do that is unknown. We will let it ventilate for several days."

Because of the threat of the vented gases exploding, state Route 191 will be closed between its junction with U.S. Highway 6 to the south and Emma Park Road to the north.

The road closure will be in effect from the time the giant fans are started until officials determine the gases have dissipated enough to allow traffic in the area. Officials are also discouraging the use of helicopters from low flights over the mine during the venting period.

Most mines in Carbon County have methane gas trapped in seams running through the coal beds. The number of pump jacks springing up between Price and Orangeville in Emery County illustrates size of the gas fields, which are estimated to contain more than 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Once the ventilating process is complete, crews wearing breathing apparatus will venture into the mine, and build wooden seals beyond the portals so heavy equipment can complete removing earth used to seal the entrance.

Working in two rotating six- person teams, crews will venture deeper into the mine, checking gas levels as they go. Vehicles will drive crews into the enclosed areas that have been declared safe and proceed into unchecked areas on foot from there.

An official with Mine Safety and Health will accompany each crew. Members of the crews are volunteers who worked as miners at Willow Creek before it closed.

The area of the explosion and fire was flooded with water, covering a $20 million coal-mining machine that can shear off chunks of coal up to 10 feet tall along its 800-foot swath. Barker said there are no plans to retrieve the machine.

If determined that the mine is safe to resume operations, Amwest may pursue an option it has with the mine's owner to purchase the mine and start extracting coal again, using different and less expensive methods.

Allyn Davis, district manager of Mine Safety and Health from Denver, said once evaluation of the mine begins, the agency will continue its investigation of the explosion and fire halted when the mine was sealed.

The Salt Lake Tribune


MSHA, Amwest planning to re-ventilate Willow Creek.

Amwest Exploration Company of Helper, working in conjunction with the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration, plans to remove the seals and re-ventilate the Willow Creek mine sometime between Sept. 19 and Oct. 7.

The underground coal mining facility has been sealed since the explosion which fatally injured two miners on July 31, 2000.

Due to the complexity of the process, the exact dates and times have not been determined at this time, nor is it known how long the process will take.

The mine currently contains potentially dangerous gases, including methane or natural gas, which will be vented when the mine fan is started. The duration for the venting is unknown.

The general public will be denied access to the area during the ventilation period and residents are discouraged from attempting to contact people involved with the process. This includes attempts to approach the area from the air as well as from the ground.

Willow Creek is approximately one mile north of the junction of State Route 191 and U.S. Highway 6 on the route to Indian Canyon and Duchesne. SR-191 will be closed from U.S. 6 on the south end to the junction at Emma Park on the north. The closure will be in effect from the time the fan is started at the underground coal facility until the exhaust air is deemed safe by regulatory officials.

The cutoff road, located at mile marker 222 on U.S. 6, may be used for the detour.

After the mine is ventilated and the dead air is replaced, MSHA and company officials will agree on a time when rescue teams can enter and explore the underground facility, according to Gary Barker of Amwest Exploration. A report will then be given to company detailing the condition of Willow Creek before mine officials can decide the future of the facility.

The Amwest contact person is Diana Houghton, who may be reached at 472-3372.

Sun Advocate publisher


Coal Miners Strike It Wet In Scofield.

SCOFIELD -- Coal miners have been working seven days a week and their bosses scouring the West for more pumps and plastic pipe to siphon off a flood of prehistoric water from central Utah's Skyline Mine.

The subterranean deluge began Aug. 16 when miners burrowing 3 miles deep into the Wasatch Plateau inadvertently tapped into a sandstone formation, saturated like a "rock sponge," that is pouring 4,700 gallons a minute into the mine.

All mining operations have been suspended while 234 miners and other workers move equipment higher and set up electric pumps and a network of pipes.

"It seems there's a drought everywhere but the Skyline Mine,'' said Doug Johnson, manager of technical support for the huge mine that is bored straight into a mountain south of Scofield in Carbon County.

He said miners were cutting tunnels into a coal seam in preparation for installation of a larger piece of mining equipment when they exposed fractures that sent the torrent into the mine. Since then, the company has purchased about 53,000 feet of 12-inch plastic pipe at $13 a foot and several dozen pumps at an estimated cost of $6 million.

So far, some of the water has been diverted into abandoned sections of the mine and some is being pumped into Eccle's Creek, which drains into Scofield Reservoir in Carbon County. Because the mine's portal is in Carbon County and its coal beds are mostly in Emery County, the company plans to drill into the formation from above and pump water 3,500 feet into Electric Lake in Emery County.

That is good news to Gene Johansen, chairman of the Emery Water Conservancy District, who said it has long irked Emery water users that the mine pumped its normal seepage into Scofield Reservoir in Carbon County.

"There are 135 square miles of coal leases under our watershed,'' Johansen said Thursday. Until now, he said, mine operators assumed water in the mine was under Carbon County.

The new font appears to be a saturated sandstone strata called the Starpoint Formation.

Tests of samples of the water -- which Johnson described as "old and cold'' -- indicate it was trapped in the stone at least 10,000 years ago when mammoths and other ice-age animals roamed the area.

Kevin Christopherson, southeastern region supervisor for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, has been monitoring the outflow into the Scofield Reservoir to determine what impact it might have on the fishery. At present, he said, there are live bugs on the water and no dead fish.

"The verdict is still out," Christopherson said. "We'll have to come back later and assess the situation."

While it appears that the pumps and pipes will solve the draining problem by next week, Johnson said the emergency response has been hard on miners who are use to extracting coal -- not water -- from the earth.

"Crews are getting tired because they've been working seven days a week, and it looks like they're going to have to work through the Labor Day weekend,'' he said. "It has been a pain in the butt."

Special to the Salt Lake Tribune.


Added a list of links of coal mines and loadouts in the state.

Skyline continues to monitor air readings.


Routine atmosphere monitoring in the Skyline coal mine near Scofield showed elevated levels of carbon dioxide last Monday. The sitiation caused all mine personnel to be evacuated from the underground facility.

Currently, the mine is not producing any coal as the company is in the middle of a longwall move. Relocating the equipment is planned to continue through May. Last Monday, approximately 50 to 60 miners were in the Skyline facility when the routine air check was conducted.

The United States Mine Safety and Health Administration was alerted to the situation. Usually, elevated carbon monoxide levels mean there is a fire somewhere. Combustion was thought to be in the old mine number one area. Mine number one is an area depleted of coal reserves several years ago and now is not an active part of the Skyline operation. MSHA approved a number of miners to re-enter the underground facility to evaluate the situation and check the seals around mine number one on Monday.

Since that time, carbon monoxide levels have dropped substantially and mine officials are hopeful that the combustion is diminishing. Air sampling will continue. Since the mine was in the middle of a longwall move, the equipment was not in operation nor will it be for several more weeks. The longwall move has been suspended until further notice when the mine is declared safe again. "We are confident we can handle the situation effectively and resume mining coal in the near future," commented Deck Slone, spokesperson for Arch Coal.

Canyon Fuel Company is the operator of Skyline coal mine. Arch Coal owns 65 percent of Canyon Fuel. "We don't expect to miss any shipments of coal because of this situation because of the reserves located at the mine because of the longwall move," Slone continued.

"No one was hurt and never in a situation of danger because it was detected early. Levels were measured in the parts per million so there never was a substantial amount in the air to pose a danger," concluded Slone.

By Kevin Ashby
Sun Advocate publisher

Trail Mountain coal mine closes.

Trail Mountain employees witnessed the end of the mine's final shift last week. Trail Mountain, west of Huntington, closed and the remaining workers at the mine were faced with the prospect of moving on. Approximately 164 coal miners were affected by the Trail Mountain closure, according to Utah Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen.

A number of the displaced Trail Mountain workers will transfer to the Cottonwood preparation plant or the Deer Creek mine. "Many employees are eligible for severance pay, early retirement or both. We don't know the exact number of employees who will take advantage of this offer," indicated Eskelsen.

The fallout from the mine's closure, while harsh, is not as harsh as was first expected, according to the company spokesman. "We originally announced that 200 people would lose their jobs, but that number will be significantly less than announced," pointed out Eskelsen.

The Trail Mountain closure will not only have an immediate impact on the mine employees, but on the truck drivers who transported the coal as well. Western Coal Carriers' 37 employees face the fact that the company's trucks are now idle and work will have to be found elsewhere Thirteen truck drivers were laid off last week, according to a spokesperson at Western Coal Carriers. Three other drivers retired. The remaining trucking company employees will stay on hand until approximately March 23, removing the last of the coal as clean up at the Trail Mountain mine is accomplished. For the coal truck drivers, the prospects of finding employment elsewhere is unsettling. The average number of years with the company is 32.

With operations at Trail Mountain at an end, the closure process will begin. Equipment removal and sealing the portal will take a number of months. Closing the portal and other procedures should be complete by June. A small crew will stay on to complete the related tasks, added the Utah Power spokesman.

"Coal for the Hunter plant will continue to come from Deer Creek mine and Utah Power maintains a contract with SUFCO. We will continue to purchase from other mines," concluded Eskelsen.

Kennecott Utah Copper says to reduce workforce.

NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - The third-biggest U.S. copper producer, Kennecott Utah Copper, a subsidiary of global mining giant Rio Tinto Plc/Ltd, said Tuesday it will reduce jobs by an indeterminate amount company-wide in order to cut costs.

Kennecott hoped to accomplish the job cuts by retirement or resignation. It was unsure how many would be eliminated, what facilities would be affected, and whether or not job cuts would lead to future copper production cuts, a spokesman said.

``We will be operating with fewer people than we have done in the past. We don't know by how many as of right now. That decision hasn't been made -- it is all part of a cost-reduction program,'' said Louis Cononelos, Kennecott's government and external affairs director in Salt Lake City.

Cononelos said the company had not decided whether the potential layoffs or attrition would represent jobs at Kennecott's 310,000-ton-per-year Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah.

Engineers at Bingham recently began drilling in a project that would relocate open-pit mining operations to new underground ore areas by 2012-2013. The project has not yet been funded or approved.

``It is simply now a concept...But that is ultimately where our future is when open pit mining ends about 2012-2013,'' he said of the underground exploration.

Kennecott had to continually cut its costs in order to remain competitive with other U.S. copper producers.

``We have had increasing costs because of energy, but we're are also trying to reduce our costs so that we can make this an attractive investment to ultimately ensure Bingham's future to go underground,'' Cononelos said.

``We hope to be totally underground by that time,'' he added.

Kennecott has yet to announce copper output cuts at Bingham, even with the impact of high diesel fuel costs on mining and natural gas rates that have tripled for the company.

Southwest copper producers have estimated the cost to produce copper by mining ore, then milling and processing it was about 75 cents a lb.

On Tuesday, COMEX active May copper was quoted at 81.85 cents a lb at midday.


Economic impact of Willow Creek mine closure

The owners of Willow Creek coal mine in Carbon County laid off 30 salaried employees, bringing the total number of layoffs to nearly 350 workers since the mine caught fire in late July. The layoff, which occurred Dec. 1, leaves about 38 workers on the job at the mine, indicated spokesman Mike Dmitrich. Those employees continue reclamation efforts at the Star Point site as well as a core unit of accountants, etc. at the Willow Creek site, explained Dmitrich. "They're slowly gearing it down because they haven't made any decisions on what they're going to do with the mine," Dmitrich said.

Willow Creek owners RAG American Coal of Maryland closed the mine in September, idling 319 miners. Speculations that Willow Creek will reopen hiring only contract miners are just rumor, said Dmitrich on Wednesday. No final decision has been made regarding the future of Willow Creek. The United States Mine Safety and Health Association continues to investigate the fire that killed two employees in July, resulting in the sealing of the underground facility.

Staff reporter
Price Sun Advocate


MSHA reminds Carbon coal miners, operators of increasing explosion risk.

The United States Mine Safety and Health Administration is reminding underground workers and coal operators that the risk of explosions increases with the approach of cooler weather. In addition, the federal agency urges redoubled vigilance to prevent mine tragedies during the upcoming winter months.

Historically, MSHA indicates that the nation's most devastating mine disasters have occurred between October and March. "This year, the U.S. coal mining industry saw its first fatal explosion in six years," explained Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for the mining safety and health administration. "We must never become complacent about this danger," stressed the MSHA official.

The assistant labor secretary pointed to several recent methane explosions at underground coal mines in China, Pakistan and Ukraine that collectively killed nearly 200 miners. During the last 20 years, U.S. coal mine explosions have claimed 92 lives, 54 of fatalities occurring in the winter alert months from October through March.

The worst coal mine explosion in U.S. history killed 362 coal miners in December 1907. The worst coal mine disasters in the past 50 years were the December 1951 Orient No. 2 mine explosion near West Frankfort, Ill., with 119 deaths, and the November 1968, Consol No. 9 Mine explosion near Farmington, W. Va., with 78 fatalities.

"It's critical to double check your four lines of defense: Follow the mine's approved ventilation plan; make thorough examinations for methane and other hazards; keep potential ignition sources out of working-face areas; and apply rock dust in all areas of the mine," emphasized McAteer.

In the winter months, large drops in barometric pressure can permit potentially explosive methane migrate from worked-out areas of an underground coal mine to areas where miners work or travel. The situation increases the risk that an explosive mixture of air and methane may come together with an ignition source, touching off an explosion.

Also in winter weather, cold dry air entering underground coal miners dries out the coal dust. Coal dust becomes harder to control and may contribute to explosion hazards. "All four lines of defense are essential and there is one potential ignition source that we can completely eliminate from underground coal mines- smoking materials," stressed McAteer.

"Since 1990, three fatal explosions were caused by smoking materials. We want to remind coal mine operators that they must have adequate search programs to make sure no smoking materials are carried underground, ever. This is literally a matter of life and death," he continued. "Just as we've done in the past several years, we will place special emphasis on enforcement of ventilation requirements and smoking prohibition," pointed out the assistant labor secretary. During the last two years, MSHA has cited dozens of violations due to inadequate smoking materials search programs.

Willow Creek announces status change for hourly employees.

Plateau Mining Corporation officials met with hourly employees Wednesday morning to announce a status change which is designed to provide economic help to workers during the current period of uncertainty about the mine's future, said Willow Creek public relations representative Mike Dmitrich.

Previously laid off employees are being severed under the company's current severance plan.

Operations at the underground facility ceased after a July 31 fire and explosion that resulted in the sealing of the mine portals and subsequent layoff of the hourly employees.

Approximately 80 salaried employees continue to receive a paycheck for their reclamation work at the Star Point facility, said Mike Rounds, corporate representative.

"If salaried employees are being trained for recovery purposes, I am unaware of it," commented Rounds.

James F. Roberts, President of Plateau Mining Corporation's parent RAG American Coal Company, noted, "This action is not the result of a final decision to close the mine, it merely reflects a desire to do what is best for the employees in the short term." He added, "the average years of service for employees at this mine is considerable and we must do everything reasonable to help them through this time of uncertainty." Dmitrich said this action is not a ploy by the company to break the seniority roster, but rather a way to help employees through the financially difficult time caused by the uncertainty surrounding Willow Creek's future.

The action does terminate the employment of hourly employees, and should the Willow Creek facility reopen, high seniority miners choosing to return would do so as new hires, Dmitrich confirmed.

No determination has been made as to when, and if, the Willow Creek Mine can be reentered. Plateau Mining Corporation is currently monitoring the mine atmosphere remotely to determine conditions in the mine and continues to cooperate with the Mine Safety and Health Administration in investigating the incident and identifying possibilities for reentering the mine.

"Indications are that the fire is out. The longwall section has been flooded. There has been a sustained level of readings indicating that gas levels are going in the right direction," commented Rounds.

Dmitrich said he could not answer the question of why the decision of whether or not to reenter the mine is taking so long. Rounds, too, found the question difficult to address, saying only that the decision involves a complex set of facts, as well as steps that he could not clearly define, but which involve the atmosphere of the mine and the safety conditions of the employees.

It is also unclear with whom the final decision lies. Rounds indicated that although unsure of the answer, he would think that the decision is a joint one between RAG top management and MSHA. RAG is a closely held company, though Mitsubishi of Japan has a contributing voice in the company, said the Plateau spokesman.

Dmitrich said the final decision lies with the mine operators, but reentry of the mine is impossible without MSHA approval.

In a previous interview, Rodney Brown, MSHA accident investigator operating out of the West Virginia office, stated that the decision to continue operation of a mine following a fire rests with the mine operator, not the federal agency.

While the future of the mine remains in limbo, the hourly employees who once worked Willow Creek now know that they will be starting over, many of them after 20 plus years of service to a single company, regardless of when a decision is made, who makes the decision, or what that decision involves.

By JACKIE ANDERSON Staff reporter
Sun Advocate
Price, Utah

Data tracks mining, work place dangers.

Death and danger in the work place remains foremost in the minds of many Castle Valley residents following the recent tragedy surrounding the Willow Creek underground coal facility ignition and fire. The dangers of mining in general, and of the Willow Creek facility in particular, are much on the minds of local residents, as well as mine operators and MSHA officials.

As the shock of death wears off, families face the economic realities of the closed mine and ask themselves, "What now?" Bills do not stop for tragedy.

Families face a double edged sword. The incomes provided by jobs at Willow Creek are needed, but at what cost? The history of Castle Valley bares witness to the danger of mining coal, but how does coal mining compare with other occupations in the state?

The construction industry reported the largest number of fatal work injuries of any Utah industry in 1998, (the latest year for which statistics are available), and accounted for nearly one-third of all fatalities, according to the Utah Labor Commission - Utah Occupational Safety and Health Statistics.

Construction fatalities accounted for 30 percent of fatal occupation injuries by industry in Utah, followed by transportation and public utilities with 18 percent; government, 16 percent; services, 10 percent; agriculture, forestry and fishing, 10 percent and mining and wholesale trade bringing up last place with a tie at 4 percent.

Fatal occupational injuries by occupation in Utah were led by operators, fabricators and laborers at 48 percent. The catagory includes: transportation and material moving occupations, 31 percent; motor vehicle operators, 25 percent; truck drivers, 24 percent; handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers, 10 percent; construction laborers, 7 percent; machine operators, assemblers and inspectors, as well as material moving equipment operators, 6 percent; and machine operators, assorted materials, 4 percent.

In Utah and nationally, highway crashes continued as the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities during 1998.

Highway crashes accounted for 34 percent of the Utah workplace fatality total compared to 24 percent nationally. The largest increase in non-collision highway deaths was for trucks which jackknifed or overturned. This accounted for 14 of the 23 highway deaths.

In 1998, there were 10 deaths resulting from on-the-job falls. This is the highest figure in that category since 1994, with the yearly average between 1993-1997 being six deaths.

Electrocutions, both nationally and within Utah, accounted for approximately 6 percent of all fatal injuries. At five fatalities, this number was above the yearly average of three between 1993-97. Transportation incidents accounted for 57 percent of fatal occupational injuries events or exposure in Utah during 1998.

Contact with objects and equipment accounted for 12 percent; falls, 15 percent; exposure to harmful substances or environments, 9 percent (7 percent contact with electric current); and fires and explosions brought up the rear at 4 percent.

So far this year, MSHA reports 22 coal mine fatalities nation wide. Three of those were a result of ignition or explosion of gas or dust. Power haulage accidents resulted in seven fatalities; machinery related fatal accidents, five; fall of rib, roof, highwall - three; electrical, two; fall of person, one; and other, one.

Four of these coal mine fatalities occurred in Utah mines: one at SUFCO on March 23; one at Skyline on April 10 and two at Willow Creek on July 31.

A look at MSHA statistics for Utah underground coal facilities reveals the following:

From 1998 to 2000 Willow Creek, employing 285, reported 68 injuries. MSHA records 883 violations with 429 of those violations considered serious and substantial. MSHA conducted 312 inspections at the facility for an average of 2.8 violations per visit from 1997-2000.

White Oak II in Helper, employing 84, reported 13 injuries during the time period. The facility received 605 violations, with 241 listed as S&S. Eighty-one inspections were conducted for an average of 7.5 violations per visit.

Bear Canyon II, located in Huntington and employing 65, reported eight injuries. The mine received 301 violations, 58 of which were S&S, with 65 inspections for an average of 4.6 violations per visit.

Crandall (Genwal) mine in Huntington, employing 99, reported 15 injuries with 376 violations reported, 66 of which were classified as S&S. Ninety-nine inspections were conducted for an average of 3.8 violations per inspection.

Deer Creek in Huntington, employing 259, reported 38 injuries. The facility received 281 violations with 47 S&S. With 86 inspections, the mine averaged 3.3 violations per visit.

Skyline (Canyon Fuel), located in Helper and employing 176 reported 20 injuries. The mine averaged 2.2 violations per visit with 142 inspections and 313 violations, 106 of which were classified S&S.

Trail Mountain in Orangeville, employing 240, reported 38 injuries. The mine received 275 violations for an average of 1.9 per visit with 114 inspections. 58 of the violations were considered serious and substantial.

West Ridge mine in East Carbon, employing 60, reported one injury. With 23 inspections, the mine averaged 1.6 violations per visit. The facility received 38 violations with 25 of those classified as S&S.

Aberdeen (Andalex) in Price, employing 42, reported 11 injuries over the three year period. The mine received 485 violations, 192 of which were S&S, for an average of 1.8 violations for the 269 inspections.

Dugout (Canyon Fuel) in Carbon, employing 48, reported five injuries. The mine received 82 violations, 48 of which were S&S. With 52 inspections conducted over the four year period, the facility averaged 1.5 violations per inspection.

SUFCO in Salina, employing 193, reported 13 injuries. Information on violations was unavailable.

Since Nov. 1998 there have been six mine fires nation wide. Two of those fires were at Willow Creek, the first on Nov. 25, 1998. Oxbow Mine located near Somerset, Colo. had a fire on Jan. 26, 1999; Loveridge No. 22 located in West Virginia on June 22, 1999; Grammercy Alumina Plant in Louisiana on July 5, 1999; West Elk Mine near Somerset, Colo. on Jan. 28, 2000 and Willow Creek on July 31.

Staff reporter
Sun Advocate
Price, Utah

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