Mine collapses in North America

There should be no compromise when it comes to mining safety, and mining accidents in the past are unfortunate proof of the importance of finding the best safety equipment and closely following regulations set out by governing bodies such as Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Looking back at mine collapses can be harrowing, especially when mineworkers have lost their lives, but if the industry is going to protect miners in the future, it is imperative that we learn from the mistakes of the past.

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Carroll Technologies reviews some of the worst mine collapses in North America.

Avery Island salt mine roof collapse 

 

On December 14, 2020, the roof of the Avery Island salt mine operated by Cargill collapsed, resulting in Rene Romero, 41, and Lance Begnaud, 27, losing their lives. 

The mine was shut down immediately after the incident while rescue efforts were underway, and it was permanently closed six weeks later.  

The widows of the miners who lost their lives filed lawsuits, citing that known roof collapse hazards were ignored, mining regulations were not followed, and specifically that the two men were killed during a failed attempt to preserve profitable salt mining operations at the mine. The Cargill salt mine roof collapse is a prime example of the importance of listening to safety inspectors, and the catastrophic consequences if operators do not have adequate procedures in place. 

Donkin mine roof collapse 

 

Fortunately, the series of roof collapses at Donkin mine in Cape Breton did not result in any workers being injured. However, the operator, Kameron Coal, was fined $2,000 for an accumulation of combustible coal dust and a further $2,000 for failing to implement a safety plan that “may have provided an indication that the roof strata were exhibiting signs of potential failure.” 

As mining excavations go deeper, the focus on rock support to prevent roof and floor failure has never been more important. The failure of hard roof strata can be the most violent dynamic instability event in underground longwall mining. 

Marshall County mine roof collapse 

 

In 2015, one worker, John Garloch, 45, was killed and two others were injured in a coal mine roof collapse at the McElroy Mine in Marshall County, West Virginia. The incident was attributed to a “rib roll”. In underground mines, the walls or sides of travel ways are referred to as ribs and need to be secured.  

According to Lima Ohio news: “MSHA inspectors have issued 189 citations to the mine for alleged violations that included coal dust accumulation, hazardous conditions, noise exposure levels, air quality and other safety issues. The mine received 970 citations in 2014.” 

Carroll Technologies provides a range of high-quality Simplified Mining Instruments (SMI) ground movement monitoring devices to help prevent mine roof collapses within North America. Contact us to discuss your mine safety requirements.

View the SMI Sag Flag early warning and ground control management system installation



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