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Consol cited at Robinson Run slurry dam

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Consol Energy has been cited by federal authorities for not properly maintaining part of the main dam at a coal-slurry impoundment where a Nov. 30 embankment collapse killed a miner.

Three days after the collapse, U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration officials cited Consol for not maintaining the Nolan Run slurry impoundment according to its federally approved plan.

The citation related to erosion of more than 16 feet of rock lining of a ditch along the access road on the downstream embankment of the impoundment's main dam.

MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said the erosion did not occur in the area where the fatality happened and did not contribute to the death.

"This segment of ditch exposed the fabric lining that was provided under the stone," MSHA inspectors said. "The condition was located in the segment of ditch immediately above the sediment pond near the base of the impoundment."

The citation was issued on Dec. 3, and MSHA released details of it on Monday.

Also Monday, Consol said that the body of the bulldozer operator killed in the Nov. 30 collapse of a smaller "saddle dike" at the Nolan Run site had been located inside the vehicle's cab.

Divers located the dozer and its position over the weekend during a pipe dive at the impoundment, located near Lumberport in Harrison County.

The dozer operator was swept into the impoundment shortly after noon on Nov. 30, when the saddle dike's embankment collapsed. Consol was building the dike -- constructed of coarse coal refuse piled on top of finer coal slurry -- as part of a plan to expand the impoundment so it can continue as a disposal site for waste from the nearby Robinson Run Mine's preparation plant.

There was no word on Tuesday about progress in recovering the miner's body.

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


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