Policy: Environment & Energy

West Virginia mine was doing risky retreat mining

|
Photo - The entrance to Brody Mine No.1 in Wharton, W.Va., is closed onTuesday May 13, 2014.  Two workers died after they were trapped as the ground failed at the West Virginia coal mine.  The ground failure occurred just about 8:45 p.m. Monday, trapping the workers, safety agency officials said.  The miners' bodies were recovered, and safety personnel were on the site of Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County, about 50 miles south of Charleston.  Preliminary indications show that a coal burst was responsible, according to state officials and mine owner Patriot Coal. (AP Photo/Charleston Daily Mail, Craig Cunningham )
The entrance to Brody Mine No.1 in Wharton, W.Va., is closed onTuesday May 13, 2014. Two workers died after they were trapped as the ground failed at the West Virginia coal mine. The ground failure occurred just about 8:45 p.m. Monday, trapping the workers, safety agency officials said. The miners' bodies were recovered, and safety personnel were on the site of Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County, about 50 miles south of Charleston. Preliminary indications show that a coal burst was responsible, according to state officials and mine owner Patriot Coal. (AP Photo/Charleston Daily Mail, Craig Cunningham )
News,Business,West Virginia,Energy and Environment,Mining

WHARTON, W.Va. (AP) — The two workers who were killed in an underground coal mine in West Virginia were performing a risky method known as retreat mining.

That's where the roof is intentionally collapsed to retrieve more coal. Retreat mining has been going on for generations and is considered standard practice in mines where coal reserves are running out. It involves yanking supporting pillars of coal from inside the mine and letting the roof collapse as miners and equipment work their way out.

The men were killed Monday night at the Brody Mine No. 1. Federal regulators say the mine had so many safety problems officials had deemed it a "pattern violator," a rare designation reserved for the industry's worst offenders.

View article comments Leave a comment