Tennessee miner went inby roof bolts: MSHA

FEDERAL officials have revealed the miner crushed in a rock fall at a US coal mine had gone inby the last row of roof bolts.

Donna Schmidt

In a preliminary report released to ILN, US Mine Safety and Health Administration officials said section foreman Jeremy Perkins, 32, who was working September 26 as a continuous miner operator, was in the 001 MMU at Kopper Glo Mining’s Double Mountain operation near Clairfield, Claiborne County in Tennessee.

He was mining the roof in preparation for a belt-conveyor drive installation about 5.40am.

“The victim stepped approximately eight feet inby the last row of permanent roof support, apparently to view the roof line that he had established,” the report says.

“A section of the unsupported roof, approximately 6.5 feet long by 6ft wide by up to 8 inches thick, fell, striking the victim and pinning him to the mine floor.”

MSHA confirmed members of Perkins’ crew set wood timber supports up to where he was located, and the rock atop his body was lifted by a jack from the emergency roof supply sled.

Once extracted, the worker was placed on a backboard stretcher and transported to the surface via rubber-tired buggy and rail mantrip. He was subsequently transported by ambulance to Claiborne County Hospital, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

Perkins had 12 years of mining experience, but had been working as a CM operator for just 14 weeks. He had worked at Double Mountain for about 18 weeks.

The miner’s death was the 16th in coal mining in 2012, and the first in several years in the state of Tennessee.

According to federal data, the bituminous coal-producing room and pillar mine employs 90, with 84 of them underground. There were 12 others in the mine at the time of the incident.

State and federal officials are still investigating the scene. The status of MSHA’s idle order to the mine was not known Thursday afternoon.

Kopper Glo is owned by parent company Quintana Energy Partners.