October 11, 2017 - Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) joined U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta for a mine safety tour of ICG Beckley, LLC’s Pocahontas Beckley Mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Officials from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which is an agency within the Department of Labor, also participated in the mine safety tour.
Following an approximately 30-minute ride in a mantrip that transported the group underground, Secretary Acosta and the Senators observed first-hand the operation’s continuous mining machine, which employs a large rotating steel drum equipped with bits to extract coal from the seam. Installed on the continuous mining machine is a proximity detection system, which can detect the presence of personnel or equipment and avert pinning or crushing accidents.
“Touring a West Virginia coal mine with Senators Manchin and Capito gives me a firsthand appreciation for the dedication of the men and women who work in the more than 13,000 mines around the country,” said Secretary Acosta. “Through their hard work, America’s miners fuel our modern-day life. The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all miners work in a safe and healthy work environment.”
“I was glad to join Secretary Acosta today at ICG Beckley, LLC Pocahontas Beckley Mine in Raleigh County,” Senator Manchin said. “Seeing first-hand the operation of a mine, the environment in which our miners work, and the skill it takes to operate sophisticated machinery underground, changes your perspective on the health and safety of these miners and how dangerous this profession really is. I look forward to working with him to make sure that every miner gets to return home safely to their family at the end of the day.”
Senator Capito said: “West Virginians know far too well the importance of keeping our miners safe on the job, having endured tragedies like the one that claimed 29 lives at the Upper Big Branch mine. From company leaders, to MSHA officials and career inspectors, to miners themselves, there are many people who play important roles making sure that the coal that powers our nation is mined safely and that workers return home to families at the end of their shifts. I was proud to host Secretary Acosta in West Virginia today so that we could hear directly from miners and gain from their knowledge about this vital industry and ways to improve their health and safety. Our visit highlighted the importance of continued efforts to protect our miners, and was an opportunity for him to see firsthand how this important industry contributes to the state’s economy.”
Prior to the mine safety tour, Secretary Acosta met with MSHA employees at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley.
Pocahontas Beckley Mine employs about 170 people, and in 2016, produced 982,725 tons of coal. ICG Beckley, LLC is a subsidiary of Arch Coal, Inc.
West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta