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DOL News Release No: 04-2292-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Eryn Witcher
Phone: (202) 693-4676
Contact: Suzy Bohnert
Phone: (202) 693-9420

Released Thursday, November 4, 2004

MSHA to Conduct "Retreat Mining" Seminars In Kentucky and West Virginia
Underground Coal Industry Personnel Encouraged to Attend

ARLINGTON, Va.-The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will conduct "retreat mining" seminars for mining industry personnel in Hazard, Ky., and Beckley, W.Va., to discuss the safety problems associated with this activity.

"Recent incidents have shown that there needs to be some discussion among mining industry personnel about the safer methods to conduct retreat mining," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "There are safe and efficient ways of doing retreat mining, and we want to be sure operators of underground coal mines are aware of the hazards involved and how to avoid those hazards."

MSHA specialists will hold the first seminar on retreat mining at the Hazard Community College in Hazard, Ky., on Tuesday, Nov. 9 beginning at 9 a.m. The second seminar will be held at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy near Beckley, W.Va., on Wednesday, Nov. 10 beginning at 8 a.m. Each session will last four hours.

Retreat mining is the practice of mining the coal pillars that hold up the roof of an underground mine after all coal has been taken from an area of the mine and allowing the roof to collapse. Two miners have been killed in accidents so far this year involving the practice of retreat mining.

Mining industry personnel are encouraged to attend the free seminars, which will cover mobile roof supports, geology, roof support issues and global stability, and other issues. Preregistration for the free seminars is preferred, though walk-in participants are welcome. Those interested in attending are asked to preregister by calling the National Mine Health and Safety Academy at (304) 256-3252.

Hazard Community College is located at 1 Community College Drive in Hazard, Ky. The National Mine Health and Safety Academy is located at 1301 Airport Road in Beaver, W.Va.

For further information on mine safety issues, or any updates on the seminars, please see MSHA's Web site at