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MSHA News Release: [03/23/2009]
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: 202-693-9423
Release Number 09-312-ATL

MSHA issues withdrawal order at Kentucky coal mine
Production operations cease at Double A Mining Inc.

ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a withdrawal order under Section 104(b) of the Mine Safety and Health Act to Double A Mining Inc., of Knott County, Ky., for the operator's failure to pay $313,820 in delinquent penalties. These penalties became final orders of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and were not paid. This is the first time the agency has issued a withdrawal order to a mine operator for failure to pay delinquent fines.

"The failure to pay penalties reduces the operator's incentive to comply with its obligation to prevent unsafe conditions at the mine," said Michael A. Davis, MSHA's deputy assistant secretary for operations. "We regret that a withdrawal order was necessary, but MSHA will take the necessary steps to ensure that our nation's mines are safe for its working men and women."

MSHA's order withdraws all personnel from mine production activities until the delinquent civil penalties are paid. The order permits access to the mine only for personnel and equipment that are necessary to monitor, examine and maintain all areas of the mine in a safe condition.

MSHA records indicate that Double A Mining Inc., owes $313,820 for at least 367 violations at its #4 Mine in eastern Kentucky, and that the operator has not made a penalty payment since Aug. 23, 2004. Just last week, the mine became one of 15 put on notice for a potential pattern of violations.

In a letter dated Feb. 11, 2009, MSHA formally demanded that Double A Mining Inc., pay its delinquent penalties. When the operator failed to respond within the requested two-week time period, MSHA issued a citation on Feb. 27 under Section 104(a) of the Mine Act. Since that time, Double A Mining Inc., has failed to make arrangements to pay its penalties.

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