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 Post subject: MSHA Regulations Bituminous vs. Anthracite.
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:36 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:57 am
Posts: 17
Location: Hopkins County Ky.
This website contains some very interesting information.

I have learned that anthracite coal is pitch vein mine (semi vertical) oriented as opposed to bituminous coal which is horizontal strata mine oriented. Even the simplest of minds should be able to comprehend these two types of mining operations are beasts of completely different natures.
With a bituminous operation the primary emphasis centers around a roof control plan utilizing steel pins for horizontal strata stabilization and support with a secondary emphasis on avoiding rib roll off and pillar outbursts. With anthracite operations it appears the primary emphasis is a rib control plan utilizing wood props to stabilize and support a sometimes almost vertical rib/strata. The roof is the actual coal vein whereby the roof/coal vein is then fragmented by blasting or chipping and dislodged with the purpose of causing it to fall down between the ribs into various coal load out chutes.


Im not posting this with the intention of offending or insulting the MSHA. But rather i would hope to say something that would encurage both the MSHA and the anthracite operators to develop a more confident working relationship. And if i do say something out of line about MSHA please let me know and i will offer up a proper apology.

I looked at the pics and hand drawn diagrams of anthracite mines on this website and read about how MSHA actively applies the bituminous inspection rules to the anthracite operations. This present day ideology is like using beagle hound trials rules to govern a coon hound hunting competition.

I am under the impresion the higher ups at MSHA are required to have some type of lengthy mining experience to qualify as a MSHA employee. There is always the possibility their administrative managers could be comprised of ex-bituminous miners who have never set foot in a anthracite operation.

The only way any of you guys involved in the anthracite mining industry will ever get MSHA to stop applying bituminous rules and regulations to anthracite operations is to form a type of anthracite coal operators association. Then the coal operators would appoint people like Bob Murray and Don Blankenship to do lobbying work and organize efforts to push for major overhaul of the present anthracite mining rules and regulations. A lot of folks would like to demonize Murray and Blankenship. But these two guys have done a lot of political ground work and conducted lobbying efforts that has saved multiple thousands of mining jobs over the years. If someonee were to give these guys a call you will probably find out they are not as beyond reach and untouchable as a lot of folks would consider them to be.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:51 pm
Posts: 1423
Location: SW Indiana
General your points are correct.

A couple of things I will point out;

1) Certainly at the District level, it is safe to assume MSHA managers have some mine experience. Above that and certainly in Washington I would not assume that is the case. At some level there is a crossover from miner to beauacrat. Your point that few MSHA folks have been in a U/G Anthracite Mine is most likely correct.

2) The Anthracite Operators have formed an association. The point you are missing is Anthracite is a small portion of the coal industry. And I will let one of the Pa. Guys confirm but I think Surface Anthracite production is significantly larger than U/G. So the powers on high seems to wish U/G Anthracite to go away.

3) The other thing is it would be had for the Anthracite industry to get much political attention since they are a small industry in a large state. There are bigger fish begging the attention of thier Senators and Representatives.

4)I would have to check the numbers but, a single Blankenship or Murray mine are larger than the entire U/G Anthracite industry.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:11 pm
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Location: NEPA
The small Anthracite operators do have a organization to speak for them, the Independant Miners and Associates. We had it pretty good here untill 2001 when John Kuzar and William Spavariei were transfered to MSHA District 1 as Manager and Assistant Manager. To say they ruined the Anthracite deep mine industry would be a understatement. Most of what they did had nothing to do with safety but a lot to do with politics. None of the small deep mines are or were represented by the UMWA. Both John and Bill were ex UMWA officals. They did everything in there power to try and force the small independants out of buisness. There are numerous cases that were brought to court against District 1 on the internet that are minor issues if any that District 1 made a big to do over. If in one of our mines you had the top come down around a roof bolt like you have happen from time to time in a soft coal mine that would be a SS Citation here if your lucky.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:44 am 
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Location: SW Indiana
That is the first I've heard of the UMWA Connection. I smell a rat says I.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:13 pm 
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There are very strong ties between the UMWA and MSHA. Let me start by saying i'm not anti union across the board but what I have seen of the UMWA is upsetting at times. By and large the majority of MSHAs management from the district level on up to the top is ex UMWA. That by itself is no big deal but when you look at the number of union vers non union mines now it should raise a few questions. Look at whats going on at UBB. Thats was a non union mine but yet the UMWA has there own investigators there as we speak and MSHA actualy encourages them to be there and at the same time all but refuses to let the company investagate.

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