"With a new employer for the Massey Energy mines, Alpha Natural Resources, they were able to chart a new course," Main said.
During a brief news conference, Crutchfield told reporters that Alpha has not yet finished cultural changes company officials said at the time of the merger were needed at Massey.
"We've made a lot of progress, but to say it's complete would be an overstatement," Crutchfield said. "It's a long journey."
Later, during his speech, Crutchfield said Alpha has made "steady and notable progress" at former Massey mines, but has "not reached our final destination.
"We knew going in we had a big piece of work ahead of us," Crutchfield said. "A lot of things needed mending and it wasn't going to happen overnight. The old ways are being ushered out, and we're replacing them with a culture of safety and trust."
Under the deal with prosecutors, Alpha was required to have the training facility operational by the end of this month.
Company officials said 400 Alpha employees already have completed required annual training courses, and that the goal is for all employees in West Virginia to have gone through the academy by the end of the year. So far, though, Alpha doesn't have a firm timeline for opening the facility to other companies, a step that is required by the agreement with Goodwin.
As of Thursday, Alpha had yet to submit a required six-month report to Goodwin on its progress implementing the nonprosecution agreement. The report was due by June 6, but both sides agreed to delay it. Alpha spokeswoman Samantha Davison said Thursday the report would be submitted by the end of the month, but that a specific date had not been scheduled.
Alpha and Goodwin's office had refused to release some details of previous six-month reports, including specifics on how much money Alpha has spent on new technology and on safety reforms at former Massey operations.
However, Alpha officials on Thursday provided a few new details about some of the steps taken under the nonprosecution agreement. For example, new refillable breathing devices -- called "oxygen cascading systems" -- are in place at two Alpha mines and on order at a third operation, replacing self-contained self-rescuers. Unlike the one-hour SCSRs, the new systems can be quickly refilled with breathable air at stations located on the way out of a mine in the event of a fire or explosion.
Also, each Alpha mine has at least one of a new generation of "explosibility meters," used to ensure that adequate crushed limestone has been used to dilute explosive coal dust underground.
Alpha officials said they hope to soon begin installing more advanced continuous atmospheric monitoring devices that will measure carbon monoxide, methane and airflow in underground mines. The goal is to have the systems in place in all mines by December, officials said.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.