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Settlement agreement reached after fatal surface mine incident (6/3)

June 3, 2009
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MSHA has announced that an administrative law judge of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has approved a settlement between MSHA and Tri-Star Mining Inc. regarding an April 2007 highwall failure that resulted in the death of two coal miners at Tri-Star Mining's western Maryland surface operation. The mine operator will pay a total of $105,324 in penalties.

As a result of its investigation into the accident, MSHA issued several violations, including three unwarrantable failures for violations that contributed to the highwall collapse. One was amended to a 104(a) citation with high negligence.

"No dollar amount can replace a human life," said Michael A. Davis, MSHA's deputy assistant secretary for operations. "However, a penalty amount exceeding $100,000 has been approved by the commission in this case. This penalty will serve notice to the mine operator that safety must always be the top priority."

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