Cliffs mine marks LTA-free milestone

CLIFFS Natural Resources’ Toney Fork surface operation in southern West Virginia has surpassed the safety milestone of 1000 days worked without a single lost-time accident.

Donna Schmidt

The 47-worker operation near Man, Logan County, has now worked more than 550,000 hours accident-free, the producer said Monday.

Crews were recently honored with another prestigious honor, a Joseph A Holmes Safety Association Award for outstanding safety performance during 2012.

The long-awaited achievement is good news for the mine after seeing its production goals cut from 1.1 million tons per annum to 800,000tpa in June 2012; with the cut went 46 hourly positions and another 13 salaried jobs.

The Cliffs mine, which it took over in its acquisition of INR Energy, was one of many in the southern Appalachian region that felt the ripple impact of the rough coal market over 2012 and this year.

The company also said that, along with Toney Fork, its nearby Logan County Coal Saunders prep plant and load-out facility are approaching 1000 days worked without a lost-time accident.

The Pinnacle prep plant, also in the southern West Virginia coalfields in Wyoming County, is nearing 700 days lost time accident-free.

Cliffs’ coal arm, which now has about 1,500 workers, includes Toney Fork, the Lower War Eagle and Powellton mines in Logan County, the Pinnacle operation in Wyoming County and the Oak Grove mine and Concord prep plant in Jefferson County, Alabama.