Broad Run Coal Mine, located at 1714 Graham Station Road in New Haven, shut its doors early, sending workers home for reasons unknown around 6 a.m. on Friday. The mine is owned by Big River Coal Mining LLC, which has a history of run-ins with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.
According to Janet May, Town of New Haven recorder, Mayor Ron Zerkle contacted Big River office employees who also were unable to comment on the reason why the mine had unexpectedly shut down.
Workers are now questioning when they will be allowed to return to work. Some assume that a maintenance crew may be called in soon.
As of press time, mine officials had yet to release a statement regarding the closure and declined to comment on the issue. One Big River employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said that they “had nothing to say.”
In 2009, Big River Coal Mining received letters from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration which put them on notice that they had a potential pattern of violations of mandatory health or safety standards under Section 1049(e) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. They were one out of 15 mines operators from around the country to receive the letters.
Also, in 2008 the mine itself was fined for a total of $291,600; $147,300 for accumulation of combustible materials and $144,300 for failure to follow the approved ventilation plan. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the violations were issued in February of 2008.