Cabinet for Economic Development
Governor Beshear Announces Mine Shields to Begin Manufacturing Operations in Garrard County

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, April 07, 2010  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

Start-up company to create at least 35 new jobs, invest more than $3 million


LANCASTER, Ky. (April 7, 2010) – Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company and community officials in Garrard County to announce Mine Shields LLC, a newly created company, will begin manufacturing mine refuge chambers in Lancaster.  The start-up company will create at least 35 new full-time jobs in the community and invest more than $3 million as a result of the project.   

“Tragedies like the one earlier this week at the Massey Energy Company’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia – the worst such accident in more than 25 years -- deepen our resolve to make sure our miners are kept safe,” said Gov. Beshear. “The mine refuge chambers that Mine Shields will produce are uniquely designed to save lives underground. This announcement is a huge step forward for our miners.”  

Mine Shields will place into market a mine refuge chamber pursuant to MSHA standards that will have the capacity to secure the comfort and survival of miners for no less than 96 hours.  The unit is formed of 1/4 gauge steel throughout and is uniquely designed for underground application in non-caustic environments. 

“Mine Shields is the only manufacturer of metal refuge chambers in Kentucky, and one of only five in the United States,” said Connie Hendren, CEO of Mine Shields LLC. “We believe Garrard County is a natural fit for our product and have been overwhelmed by the cooperation of Governor Beshear, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Lancaster/Garrard Industrial Development Authority, Garrard County Economic Development Director Nathan Mick and many others in their endeavor to work toward our success.  We are grateful.” 

The company will establish two production lines at its 60,000 square-foot Lancaster plant and anticipates it will produce 500 units annually.   The 35 new jobs, which are expected to be filled within six months of operation, are estimated to have an average hourly wage of more than $16 an hour, including benefits. 

“I would like to thank Gov. Beshear, Secretary Larry Hayes and the entire team at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development for all they have done to help bring Mine Shields to Garrard County,” said Representative Lonnie Napier of Lancaster.  “Garrard County is on the move and we will continue to work hard as a team to create jobs and provide opportunities for our community.”   

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Mine Shields for tax incentives up to $950,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program.  The incentive can be earned over a 15-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments.  The maximum annual approved amount to be earned by Mine Shields is $63,333. 

KEDFA also approved Mine Shields for up to $18,000 in tax benefits under the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction and building costs.    

“MineShields’ investment in Lancaster will be the largest one-time creation of jobs in Garrard County in the last decade,” said Garrard County Judge Executive John Wilson. “Despite the nationwide down economy, we are seeing significant job creation in our community.  In 2007, we decided to hire Nathan Mick as our first full-time economic development director for Garrard County.  I appreciate the good work Nathan continues to do as we see the fruits of his labor.  This is a tremendous win for Garrard County and the region.”

“On behalf of the city of Lancaster, we thank Gov. Beshear and the Cabinet for Economic Development for the incentives provided to Mine Shields,” added Lancaster Mayor Don Rinthen.  “It is with the help of these economic incentives that we are seeing significant growth and business investment in Lancaster and Garrard County.”   

A detailed community profile for Lancaster (Garrard County) can be viewed at  Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at