Shoal Creek evacuated

MINERS were safely evacuated following a gas explosion Friday at Alabama’s biggest coal mine.
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Shoal Creek mine, courtesy Drummond Company.

Staff Reporter

A methane explosion occurred about 1.30am at Drummond Company’s Shoal Creek Mine, 45 miles west of Birmingham, Associated Press reported.

Within two hours of the explosion all the miners had been evacuated with no injuries, according to Dirk Filpott, a spokesman for the US Mine Safety and Health Administration in Washington.

The Birmingham-based company said the explosion was caused by methane being ignited on the longwall face, though it was not clear whether or not the event had been caused by frictional ignition.

The mine, which employs around 850 people, produced 1.377 million tonnes in the first half of 2005. It was among more than a dozen operations that were to undergo court-ordered safety inspections after the United Mine Workers of America filed a lawsuit over lax state oversight.

Drummond said it expects to resolve the situation today in cooperation with federal mine regulators, AP reported.

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