We extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families and loved ones of the several members of our Association family who have passed away during the past month. 

John Francis

Well known industry engineer and friend, John Francis, passed away on October 6th in Culloden, WV.  Many in the industry remember John for his practical ingenuity and attention to problem solving during his long career with Long Airdox and Persinger’s. John is survived by his wife, Rosemary, and family, who have indicated any memorials may be made to the Grace Baptist Temple, 1901 MacCorkle Avenue, St. Albans, WV  25177 or to a charity of one’s choice.   John’s funeral was held in Huntington.

Follow this link for a pre-publication copy of a proposed rule that the Mine Safety and Health Administration will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow regarding the installation of proximity detection system on underground mining equipment.  Also available at this link is a fact sheet that the agency has prepared. Comments on the rule will be accepted through Dec. 2, 2015.

 Under the proposed rule operators of underground coal mines would be required to install proximity detection systems on mining equipment, coal hauling machines and scoops on working sections using continuous mining machines. Consistent with the proximity requirements for continuous mining machines the proposal indicates that the final rule will be phased-in over a period of 8-36 months depending upon the date of manufacture and installation of proximity technology in advance of the final rule.

In honor of the commitment and courage of mine rescuers past and present, the Mine Safety and Health Administration commemorated the Third Annual Mine Rescue Day on Friday, Oct. 30 by showcasing the latest emergency response equipment and technology at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, West Virginia.

"Mine rescue is among the most challenging emergency work that is undertaken in our country," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main. "When a mine disaster strikes, mine rescue volunteers, brave men and women, don't hesitate to answer the call, be it day or night. Many times these great volunteers from the mining community travel miles in the dark and under arduous and treacherous conditions, navigating mine workings sometimes filled with debris and explosive gases to find missing miners or recover those who did not survive. That's what they do. They are our heroes."

Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, echoed Main's comments.
"Our coal miners are the best in the world and our safety teams are the best in the world as well," Raney said. "They go where no one else wants to go. They go to the danger and they are our angels, and this event salutes their skill and courage -- and through them it honors every coal miner."

WVCA member, Blackhawk Mining, LLC, finalized the acquisition of six Patriot Coal mining complexes in southern West Virginia, including the Wells, Panther, Paint Creek, Rocklick, Kanawha Eagle and Midland Trail complexes. After interviews and briefings in Charleston for all former Patriot employees at these complexes, Jesse Parrish, vice president of Blackhawk Mining, said they hope to have the majority of them rehired. 

Arch Coal, Inc. and its operating subsidiary Mingo Logan Coal Company were recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement) for demonstrating exemplary interaction, communication and involvement with the surrounding communities.

The 2015 Good Neighbor Award was presented to the Mountain Laurel complex for its ongoing community service efforts that included outdoor education and stewardship programs which provided outdoor experiences for community members who otherwise may not have had the opportunity, an annual Earth Day celebration with a local elementary school, the donation of Rockhouse Lake Recreation Area to the Logan County Commission, and the ongoing participation in the Spruce River Community Advisory Panel - a long-time partnership that works to improve the greater Sharples, W.Va. community. Moreover, employees continued their tradition of giving back to the community by donating volunteer time and more than $35,000 to the annual Christmas Giving Program. The donations allowed the mine to brighten the holiday season for students at eight schools in five counties, a local nursing facility and a number of underprivileged families in the area.