The Mine Safety and Health Administration cited Inman Energy’s Randolph Mine and Independence Coal Co.’s Justice No. 1 Mine. Both Boone County operations were owned by Massey Energy and now belong to Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources.
MSHA says neither got a potential pattern violator notice during a screening round in November, but both were since audited.
An administrative law judge ordered Alpha to supply records for five mines, including Randolph and Justice. The audit showed those two mines had failed to report or inaccurately reported 24 injuries.
MSHA also said that since June 23, it has been fining St. Louis-based Peabody Energy $4,000 for failing to provide information needed to audit its Air Quality No. 1 Mine in Knox County, Ind. Those fines will continue to accrue until the data is presented, the agency said.
In all, 39 mines were subjected to MSHA auditing. Maple Coal Co., which underreported injuries at its Maple Eagle No. 1 Mine, was subsequently moved to potential pattern violator status. Maple Coal is owned by Western Coal of British Columbia.
Federal law allows MSHA to close mines with a pattern of significant and substantial violations until those operations get a clean inspection. MSHA uses a screening process to determine whether a mine has such a pattern, and operators are given time to fix the problems before a shutdown.
MSHA chief Joe Main said one factor in issuing a potential pattern of violations notice is the mine’s accident and injury history. Refusing to provide that data prevents MSHA from determining whether a mine should be screened.