"The uneven nature of the roof made bolting it using the standard spacing difficult," Nida said. "Certified mine personnel had not yet had a chance to inspect the bolting when the fall occurred."
MSHA investigators said in their report that the Alpha operation had been cited six times in the previous two years for similar violations.
Nida said, "As a result of the incident, Kingston Mining Inc. took an immediate safety stand-down and conducted extensive training of all mine personnel.
"Mine management modified the roof control plan to address this type of condition and conducted extensive training of all mine personnel," Nida said.
In the other incidents, Alpha said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it received imminent-danger orders on May 31 at the former Massey Justice No. 1 Mine and the White Cabin No. 9 Mine and on June 1 at the Roundbottom Powellton Deep Mine.The Alpha-Massey merger was completed on Jun 1.
At the Justice No. 1 Mine in Boone County, a MSHA inspector alleged that a mine foreman "traveled under hazardous roof conditions." At the White Cabin No. 9 Mine in Martin County, Ky., federal inspectors discovered hazardous roof conditions. And at the Roundbottom Powellton operation in Boone County, inspectors also alleged that the mine roof was not properly supported.
All three incidents were cited as "imminent danger" orders, defined by law as "the existence of any condition or practice in a coal or other mine which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm before such condition or practice can be abated."
Under a federal law passed in the wake of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, publicly traded coal companies must now disclose to the SEC and to their shareholders when they receive imminent-danger orders.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.