Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
State closes mine in Perry County
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 28, 2006) - The Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL) today ordered the closure of a coal mine in Perry County because seals inside the mine were constructed improperly.
Closure orders were issued against the Blue Diamond Coal Co. No. 74 mine. OMSL inspectors found seals were "dry-stacked," meaning there was no mortar between the lightweight, synthetic blocks.
OMSL is requiring Blue Diamond to build six seals to replace existing seals.
It was the second such closure order by OMSL in nine days. The Sapphire Coal Co. Advantage No. 1 mine in Letcher County was ordered closed June 20 after inspectors found that it, too, had dry-stacked seals. The state closure order was lifted after the company rebuilt 20 seals.
Nonconventional mine seals - those made of materials other than concrete block - have been under scrutiny since a methane explosion that killed five miners at Kentucky Darby LLC in Harlan County on May 20. Two days later, Governor Ernie Fletcher ordered daily checks of oxygen and methane levels at all nonconventional seals.
In the course of such checks, a seal deep inside a CONSOL of Kentucky mine in Knott County was found to have blown out. The mine was closed, as were two adjacent mines - Ember Contracting No. 10 and Abundance Coal No. 1. Production has since resumed at all three mines.