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Consol miner killed in rock fall

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A miner was killed Thursday afternoon in a rock fall at a Consol Energy operation in Monongalia County, state officials confirmed.

The incident occurred at Consol's Blacksville No. 2 Mine, which is permitted in West Virginia but includes mining of some coal reserves in Pennsylvania, said C.A. Phillips, director of the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.

Jesse Lawder, a spokesman for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, said that the 3:50 p.m. incident involved a miner being struck by a rock from either the roof or the wall of the mine.

"The miner was removed from under the rock and CPR was administered, but the miner did not respond and was pronounced dead," Lawder said in a statement.

CONSOL identified the miner killed as William Edward Mock, 61, and said in a statement that "initial indications are that the miner was struck by a rock along the track haulage," a tunnel used to transport workers, coal and equipment in and out of the mine.

Blacksville No. 2 is a large underground mine that employs 545 workers and last year produced about 4.3 million tons of coal, according to MSHA records. The United Mine Workers union represents hourly workers at the mine.

In each of the last two years, Blacksville No. 2 recorded injury rates that were slightly worse than the national average, according to MSHA data. In April, the operation was targeted by an MSHA "impact inspection" that produced 20 citations, nearly half of which were listed as serious violations, according to MSHA.

During a quarterly inspection that started July 2 and is ongoing, MSHA officials cited the operation for 10 alleged roof-control violations, including eight that agency inspectors considered serious.

Thursday's death is the fifth coal-mining fatality in West Virginia in 2012, according to counts by both state and federal agencies.

It was also the second U.S. coal-mining death this week. On Tuesday, a 28-year-old UMW miner was killed at Drummond Mining Co.'s Shoal Creek Mine in Jefferson County, Ala.

This week's deaths push the total number of U.S. coal miners killed on the job in 2012 to 15, which is ahead of last year's pace of 13 miners killed through mid-September.

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kward@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.

 

 

 


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