Mine Reopens after ‘Imminent Danger’

Friday, February 3, 2012 @ 11:02 AM gHale

Parts of CONSOL Energy’s Enlow Fork Mine in Washington County, PA, needed to shut down for about an hour due because of an imminent danger order from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Inspectors found a concentration of methane above the permitted 1 percent in the working area, according to MSHA’s records.

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“That was a result of inadequate ventilation,” said Tom Light, MSHA’s district manager.

The condition was first an imminent danger, but they resolved the problem in less than an hour and the MSHA vacated the order. CONSOL disclosed the event in an SEC filing Thursday in accordance with new requirements set by the Dodd-Frank Act that went into effect Jan. 27.

Two days before that, a contractor at the mine, Ohio-based San-Con Industries Inc. which makes concrete silos and stacking tubes, had an accident and was ordered to “hold the scene” — stop operations — while MSHA inspectors completed their investigation, which happened Feb. 1.

The Enlow mine has had more than two dozen citations since the beginning of the year, but given the size of the operation, Light said that’s actually on the low side.

“We view this mine as actually a model operation,” Light said. “Most of the infractions are relatively insignificant” and don’t place workers in danger.

The Enlow Fork mine produced 9.1 million tons of steam coal last year and 1.1 million tons of high-vol metallurgical coal. It is one of CONSOL’s three mining operations in Pennsylvania and the second most productive mine in the company’s national portfolio.

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