The agency said Tuesday that the office would eventually be headquartered in Pineville but for the time being would have a temporary home at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver.
The new district will oversee field offices in Pineville, Logan and Princeton, while District 4 will manage field offices in Mt Hope, Mt Carbon, Madison and Summersville.
Mining engineer Timothy Watkins, who was formerly an assistant district manager in Pikeville, Kentucky, will lead the new office as District 12 manager, and his staff will eventually have the same structure of the agency’s other coal district offices.
Charles Carpenter recently was selected as manager of the District 4 location.
“The creation of an additional office in a part of the country with the highest concentration of coal mines has been one of my goals since coming to MSHA,” assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health Joseph Main said.
“Splitting this district will allow MSHA to more effectively execute its mission, provide adequate oversight and keep pace with the evolution of the coal industry.”
MSHA said southern West Virginia production tended to be higher in global demand and, over the past several years, federal officials had focused significant additional resources for the former larger District 4 to run parallel with industry expansion while meeting the requirements and expectations of the Mine Improvement and Emergency Response Act in 2006.
The agency had attempted to address the jump in the district’s activity by hiring additional personnel, allowing overtime and allocating personnel from other districts to complete mandated inspections. It said in February that District 4 would be split off into two districts for greater overall efficiency.
The District 12 office can be reached by telephone at 304-253-5237.
For more on the new District 12 office, check out the May 2011 edition of Coal USA Magazine, out now.