The Randolph Mine is an underground coal mine owned by Massey Energy and operated by Inman Energy in Boone County, West Virginia.
On April 29, 2011, federal regulators evacuated coal miners from portions of the mine after finding two dozen safety violations that could have triggered fires or explosions. The surprise inspection resulted in 20 "withdrawal" orders and five citations for excessive coal dust, weak water sprayers on mining equipment, illegal use of mining machines and failure to properly ventilate areas being mined. Eleven of the orders were issued for violations of the ventilation plan at the underground coal mine. According to assistant secretary of labor Joe Main: "The conduct and behavior exhibited when we caught the mine operator by surprise is nothing short of outrageous. The conditions observed at Randolph Mine place miners at serious risk to the threat of fire, explosion and black lung." Main also says some mining companies "still aren't getting it... despite the tragedy at Upper Big Branch Mine last year."
Federal inspectors found some of the same safety violations at the Randolph mine during a surprise inspection a year ago. Twenty withdrawal orders in a single inspection is "significant," says Amy Louviere, spokeswoman for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), "especially in light of the fact that they have exhibited similar behavior in the past." Withdrawal orders are issued when there is danger of injury or death and when the mining company's behavior is considered "aggravated conduct, constituting more than ordinary negligence," according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
In June 2011, Massey may have a possible takeover by rival coal producer Alpha Natural Resources. The shareholders of both companies will vote on the merger on June 1. Alpha has already announced it will fold some Massey executives into the management team of the combined companies. That includes Massey Chief Operating Officer Chris Adkins, who has managed the company while it has amassed one of the most criticized safety records in the industry. Adkins will jointly run Alpha's "Running Right" safety program with an existing Alpha executive.
- Mine ID: 46-09244
- Owner: Inman Energy
- Parent company: Massey Energy
- Location: Boone County, West Virgina
- GPS coordinates:
- Type of coal:
- Mine type: Underground
- Number of employees:
- Recoverable Reserves:
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- Howard Berkes, "Serious Safety Lapses Shut Down Parts Of Massey Coal Mine" NPR, May 3, 2011.