US coal industry to emerge stronger: NMA

THE industry may be grieving after Sago, but it will become stronger for the experience, an NMA official said Thursday at the WVCA Mining Symposium in Charleston, West Virginia. Donna Caudill reports from the conference.
US coal industry to emerge stronger: NMA US coal industry to emerge stronger: NMA US coal industry to emerge stronger: NMA US coal industry to emerge stronger: NMA US coal industry to emerge stronger: NMA

Dan Gerkin National Mining Assocation

Donna Schmidt

“I’m confident that the industry will emerge with a stronger resolve, a greater cooperative spirit between operators, between labor, between government, in the pursuit of safer mines,” acting head of government affairs Dan Gerkin said as he shared statistics supporting an upward trend in coal-related production and decrease in injuries and fatalities throughout US operations.

In fact, he said, the industry had the lowest number of fatalities in coal-related accidents in 2005. In addition, Gerkin noted, in the last 35 years coal-related fatal injuries have gone down 92% while production has jumped 83% during the same period.

There has been a significant drop in coal mining injuries, 51%, and fatalities, 67%, over the past 15 years since 1990, Gerkin said. In 2004, 56% of all mines in the US reported no lost-time injuries – which he noted was great news for the industry.

“When you’re dealing with the inherently dangerous workplace that we have in an underground coal mine, I think that his is a remarkable achievement, and one that we certainly intend to build on.”

Gerkin noted that the progression will hopefully bring the industry to a continued goal of no coal-mining related deaths. “Every single fatality is a tragedy for a family, for friends, and we are all committed to continue to seek the goal of zero fatalities.”

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