MSHA Agrees to Settle Crandall Canyon Mine Case

Agapito Associates Inc., a mining engineering consulting firm, has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty for a high-negligence violation in connection with the 2007 mine collapses that killed six miners and three rescue workers at Genwal Resources Inc.'s mine in Emery County, Utah.

The final chapter may have been written in the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s enforcement and legal actions to hold companies accountable for the August 2007 roof collapses at the Crandall Canyon mine in Emery County, Utah, that killed six miners and three rescue workers. MSHA on Sept. 18 submitted a settlement it has reached with Agapito Associates Inc., a mining engineering consulting firm, to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

The firm accepted responsibility and agreed to pay $100,000 for a high-negligence violation for its role in the collapses at Genwal Resources Inc.'s underground coal mine. MSHA's investigation found the miners were killed when roof-supporting coal pillars collapsed in a catastrophic outburst, and two mine employees and an MSHA inspector died 10 days later in another coal outburst during rescue efforts. The investigation found "flawed engineering analysis by Agapito resulted in an inadequate mine design, with unsafe pillar dimensions, which contributed to the accident," according to MSHA.

Genwal and its parent company, UtahAmerican Energy Inc., submitted their mining plan to MSHA based on Agapito's analysis.

"With this settlement, Agapito takes responsibility for its role in the tragic mine collapse at Crandall Canyon," said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Since this tragedy occurred, the agency has made a number of enforcement, administrative, and regulatory reforms to improve the health and safety of the nation's miners, particularly in the area of roof control safety."

If an administrative law judge approves it, the settlement will end legal proceedings brought by the federal government arising from the disaster. Genwal Resources and Andalex Resources Inc., also owned by UtahAmerican Energy, previously agreed to pay nearly $950,000 in civil penalties for Crandall Canyon violations, and Genwal Resources pleaded guilty in federal court to two criminal misdemeanors for its willful violation of mandatory health and safety standards at the mine and agreed to pay a $500,000 fine.

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