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DOL/MSHA Media Advisory
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (202) 693-9423

Released Thursday, May 29, 2003

Experimental Robot to Explore Underground Coal Mine

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. -- The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), along with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, will participate in the experimental launch of a self-propelled mobile robot into an idled underground coal mine on Friday, May 30, 2003, at 9:45 a.m. The robot will explore and map a 3,500-foot corridor in the Mathies Mine in southwestern Pennsylvania. The experiment is conducted by the Robotics Institute's Mobile Robot Development course at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The robot, nicknamed Groundhog, represents new techniques and equipment to improve the health and safety of miners by mapping unknown mine areas without endangering human life. It was developed in response to an incident at the Quecreek Mine near Somerset, Pa., last July, when nine miners nearly drowned when they breached the wall of an adjacent flooded mine that they thought was some distance away from where they were working.

For further information, please contact Amy Louviere, MSHA's Office of Information and Public Affairs, at (202) 693-9423. Or Anne Watzman, Carnegie Mellon University, at (412) 268-3830.

Event: Robotic Demonstration of Underground Mine
Date: Friday, May 30, 2003
Location: Mathies Mine
Route 837 South on river side of the road
Time: 9:45 a.m.
Contact: Amy Louviere
(202) 693-9423

Anne Watzman
(412) 268-3830