The top award was earned by the operation for having the safest record through the prior year as well as for “reflecting Massey’s commitment to building mining’s premier safety culture”, it said in a statement Wednesday.
Specifically, the 161-worker mine had over 545,000 hours during 2006 without one lost-time accident. Other award finalists were Edwight Mining, Logan County Mine Services, Mammoth Coal, Martin County Coal, Nicholas Energy and Republic Energy.
Other awards were given during the banquet ceremony, including the Stan Suboleski Mine of the Year, which went to the Edwight No. 2 highwall operation for its goal of exceeding production goals while maintaining a zero accident rate.
Additional recognitions included:
Preparation plants – Marfork Coal Company/Marfork Processing
Underground mines – Long Fork Coal Company/Solid Energy Mine
Surface mines – Nicholas Energy Company/Wildcat MTR
Highwall miners – Edwight Mining Company/Highwall Miner #2
Trucking – Endurance Mining Company/West Cazy Trucking
Company spokesman Jeff Gillenwater told International Longwall News Wednesday that due to the award requirements for an exceptional commitment to safety, there is an ability each year for any of its mines to take home the honour. It is not necessarily given to the same operation, but repeat winners are not unheard of.
Also in 2006, the company reported an overall non-fatal workdays lost (NFDL) record of 2.77, notably above the industry average of 3.31 last year.
In related news, Massey was also informed Tuesday that the West Virginia State Surface Mine Board has given the green light to the construction of a second coal silo at its Goals Coal facility. The permit was originally frozen by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection in August 2005 and the board recently overturned the DEP decision.
“We are pleased with the ruling and view the proposed silo as another step in our efforts to improve environmental performance at the site,” Massey chief Don Blankenship said in a statement Tuesday.
“It is very unfortunate that the project was unnecessarily delayed.”
The project ran into the roadblock because West Virginia state law blocks construction of new mining outfits within 300ft of a school. Massey had requested the permit for the 168ft silo about 260ft from Sundial's Marsh Fork Elementary. The DEP initially approved the permit in early 2005 because the maps submitted by Massey showed it would be located where new operations were permitted prior to the 300ft law, enacted in 1977.