Search for answers continues at Blacksville

A REVIEW of the underground workings at Consol Energy’s Blacksville operation continued on Friday and officials said they hoped to have the examinations wrapped up as early as today.

Donna Schmidt

The company has examined the haulage tracks and belt entries between the Kuhn Town and Wanna shafts near Wayne on the Pennsylvania/West Virginia border.

Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay said no issues had been encountered in an examination of the airways.

“Haulage tracks and belt entries from KuhnTown bottom to the 5 West main line haulage at 10 block have also been examined,” Seay said.

“The mine rescue teams have completed cleaning of one seal site in the KuhnTown area and are preparing framework for the seal, while they continue to clean additional seal sites.”

Crews also are continuing to dewater the mine. An additional pump was installed on Friday to aid in that effort.

Seay said gas levels were steady in Blacksville’s underground workings, but company officials were remaining onsite to monitor air and maintain the mine’s water seal.

A timeline for a production restart has not been determined but Consol hoped to have the entire mine examined by today.

Blacksville’s 121 day-shift workers were evacuated on March 12 after smoke was discovered coming from the mine. No injuries were reported.

Both the mine and the preparation facility have been closed since then.

According to US Mine Safety and Health Administration statistics, the mine employs more than 500 workers.

It produced about 3.2 million tons of coal last year.

It is not clear what impact the closure will have on the mine and producer’s annual targets.

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