US Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere confirmed to ILN that it planned to start moving barges out to the recovery location at Consol Energy’s Robinson Run operation in Harrison County, West Virginia.
At the same time, dredging will continue from the shoreline to enable the barges’ movement toward the target location.
“A 25-foot buffer zone will be established from the shore, which will be illuminated,” Louviere said.
“Anyone in this buffer zone will be required to have a spotter and be wearing a life jacket [and], a certified marine surveyor will confirm the loads of the barges and the barge platform.”
Louviere noted the barge platforms being were of various sizes, and small boats would move them into place.
Crews will anchor the site with 50-foot pipes placed into the slurry.
Leslie Fitzwater, from the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, said its investigation could not officially begin until the missing worker was found.
However, state officials have been on site at the complex near Shinnston in the northern region of the state since shortly after the incident occurred.
Louviere, meanwhile, said federal officials began interviews at the operation today as its probe got underway.
Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay told ILN that its investigation was set to start and that it was working with state and federal agencies on the implementation of the recovery plan.
The Robinson Run mine, for which the slurry pond exists, operates a longwall as well as continuous mining sections.
It produced about 5.5 million tons of steam coal in 2011 from the prolific Pittsburgh 8 seam.