Saturday, January 08, 2005

Major Mine Fire Extinguished, Recovery Planned

Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., announced yeterday that the fire discovered at its Excel No. 3 in Pike County, Ky., on Christmas Day has been extinguished.

An MSHA robot traveled into the mine and collected data in the form of video, temperature and atmospheric readings, the company said in a presss release, and mine rescue teams are preparing to enter the mine and examine the fire area.

The Excel No. 3 mine employs about 250 miners.

The Excel fire was the second major fire at an Alliance operation this year; both fire were extinguished without injury to miners and within a few weeks' time.

Injuries to miners as a result of mine fires have become relatively rare with the widespread use of electronic detection systems and effective emergency planning. Ther last major mine disaster due to fire occurred more than 20 years ago, when 27 miners lost their lves in the Wilberg Mine near Price, Utah, in a fire that broke out December 19, 1984. However, fires have idled large coal mines for as much as a year.

New technology including use of an specially adapted jet aircraft engine to inject carbon dioxide into the fire area has recently shortened fire recovery times.

At the same time, any mine fire spells potential danger to miners as well as financial losses for the company and its employees. Such fires also mean expense to the taxpayer: government agencies intensively monitor the mining company's response and support the effort with sopecialized technology.

Reference: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/050107/75442_1.html

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