Arch, Simmons Fork receive top awards

THE West Virginia Coal Association highlighted 33 of the state’s mines with the Mountaineer Guardian safety awards last week in Charleston.
Arch, Simmons Fork receive top awards Arch, Simmons Fork receive top awards Arch, Simmons Fork receive top awards Arch, Simmons Fork receive top awards Arch, Simmons Fork receive top awards

Federal No. 2 Mine in West Virginia

Donna Schmidt

At the WVCA’s 37th annual mining symposium, Arch Coal’s Mingo-Logan Mountaineer No. 2 mine earned the 2009 Eustace Frederick Milestones of Safety award for underground mines and Simmons Fork Mining’s Ewing Fork No. 1 operation took home the Bart B Lay Jr Milestones of Safety award for surface complexes.

“Both Simmons Fork and Mingo-Logan have taken steps above and beyond what is required by state and federal regulations,” association president Bill Raney said.

“They are truly dedicated to the safety of their employees and they are greatly deserving of this award.”

The WVCA’s Mountaineer Guardian awards are given out each year to several West Virginian mines which demonstrate safety commitment throughout the year, and are nominated by the state’s Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training under various criteria.

Receiving Mountaineer Guardian honors for underground operations were:

Wolf Run Mining – Imperial mine

Consolidation Coal – Blacksville No. 2

Eastern Associated Coal – Federal No. 2

Consolidation Coal – Loveridge mine

Brooks Run Mining – Cucumber mine

Pinnacle Mining – Pinnacle mine

Mountain Edge Mining – Sugar Maple mine

Rivers Edge Mining – Rivers Edge mine

Newtown Energy – Coalburg No. 2

Aracoma Coal – Henshaw mine

Kingston Resources – Kingston No. 1

Brooks Run Mining – Poplar Ridge No. 1

Midland Trail Energy – Campbell’s Creek No. 7

Surface mines earning safety honors were:

Simmons Fork Mining – Paynter Branch

Alex Energy – North surface No. 1

Phoenix Coal-Mac Mining – Holden 22 surface

White Flame Energy – White Flame No. 10

Southern WV Resources – No. 1 surface

ICG Eastern – Birch River

Fola Coal – Surface Mine No. 1

A collection of nine preparation plants also earned Mountaineer Guardian honors. They were Carter Roag’s Star Bridge; Litwar Processing Company’s Litwar plant; Peabody Coal’s Big Mountain; Eastern Associated Coal’s Harris facility; Mingo Logan Coal’s Cardinal plant; Argus Energy WV’s Wayne County River Terminal; Fola Coal’s Peach Orchard; West Virginia Mine Power’s Midland Trail No. 1 facility; and ICG Eastern’s Birch River preparation plant.

“All of our companies strive to meet the highest standards of safety,” Raney said.

“I wish we could recognize every single operation. These award winners are fantastic examples of the commitment to safety every one of our member companies shows on a daily basis [and] each of them is to be commended for the hard work they put in each day to sure their operations are as safe as possible and to send our people home at the end of their shifts.”

International Coal Group released a statement about its three honors on Friday, pointing out that the Birch River surface mine and preparation plant had been spotlighted for the third consecutive year and that it was the second year straight for its Imperial mine.

"Their [the staff’s] outstanding efforts reflect on ICG's overarching priority to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our miners," ICG chief executive Ben Hatfield said.

Arch Coal, owner of the Mingo Logan Mountaineer Laurel complex, noted that its Cardinal preparation facility had earned its third consecutive West Virginia Mountaineer Guardian award, working more than four years and 187,000 hours without a single reportable injury.

"We're very proud of the commitment the employees of Mountain Laurel have made to safety since the complex first opened in 2005," Arch president and chief operating officer John Eaves said.

"Moreover, Cardinal's perfect safety record supports the ultimate goal of achieving ‘A Perfect Zero’ company-wide."

Finally, Massey Energy – owner of the Hernshaw mine and Alex Energy North surface mine, both recipients of honors – said that Hernshaw had been recognized by both state and federal agencies over the past three years as a safety leader and had received the top award for two years running.

The mine’s crews worked more than 63,000 exposure hours with no lost-time injuries in 2009. Workers at the North mine worked over 34,000 exposure hours last year without any lost-time injuries.

"Every Massey member is intensely focused on working safely," Massey chairman Don Blankenship said.

"We recognize the outstanding commitment to working safely exemplified by our members at Aracoma and Alex Energy, and I congratulate them on receiving this honor."