The funding was announced at the now-famous Quecreek mine in Somerset, Pennsylvania, on Monday at the same time it was revealed the bright, yellow steel capsule that successfully extracted nine Pennsylvania coal miners from 240 feet beneath the earth's surface in July 2002 has a new home.
The rescue capsule will be transferred to the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation near Somerset.
"Two years ago, our nation witnessed one of the greatest rescue operations in the history of mining," said MSHA assistant secretary Dave Lauriski.
"For the nine men trapped underground for nearly four days, this capsule represented lives saved and prayers answered. It is a testament to the fortitude and hard work of the men and women who never gave up until the last man was freed. I can't think of a more appropriate location to display this capsule than here at this site."
The miners became trapped by a huge inundation of water unleashed when they inadvertently broke through an adjacent abandoned mine. A faulty mine map that failed to accurately pinpoint the location of the abandoned mine was the key factor in the accident.
On behalf of MSHA, Lauriski presented a $1 million grant to the State of Pennsylvania to digitize mine maps. The agency also awarded a contract of $759,838 to Pennsylvania State University and two contracts of $229,420 and $71,290 to D'Appolonia Engineering to study void detection in underground mines.
In the wake of the incident at Quecreek, Congress appropriated $10 million in special funding for the detection of mine voids and mine map digitization programs.
The Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization established on the 212-year-old Dormel Farm property in Somerset as a memorial to the 2002 rescue of the Pennsylvania miners.