The independent commission will immediately undertake a study of how new technologies, procedures and training can further enhance safety in mines.
The formation of the Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission was announced by National Mining Association (NMA) president and CEO Kraig R. Naasz during Monday’s Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
Dr. R. Larry Grayson, chairman and professor of mining engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, will chair the commission.
"I welcome the opportunity to lead an independent and expert review of how new technologies, procedures and training can be adapted to mining conditions in an effort to further improve the industry's safety performance and rescue capabilities," Grayson said.
"Given the expertise of those on whom I plan to call to join me in this important endeavour, I'm confident in our ability to recommend practical ways of utilising a combination of technology, procedures and training to further enhance mine safety."
The commission will include nine experts from academia, public agencies, consultancies and the mining industry, and will include mine workers, technology specialists, public safety officials and company experts. NMA said it will examine current and potential safety procedures, communications technologies, safety training regimes and mine rescue technology and techniques specific to underground coal mines. The commission also is expected to identify any policy changes needed to expedite the transfer of technology to operational use in the mining industry.
NMA president Kraig R. Naasz said the coal industry had pledged its full cooperation in this process and was committed to providing the commission with the resources needed to succeed.
The remaining members of the commission will be announced within 30 days. The commission is expected to announce publicly its preliminary recommendations by July 1 and conclude its work with the issuance of final recommendations by the end of the year.