Willow Lake Mine closing for safety concerns

10:39 PM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A Saline County coal mine is shutting its doors for failing to meet safety standards and will lay off hundreds of workers as a result.

Big Ridge Inc., a subsidiary of Peabody Energy, will permanently close Willow Lake Mine near Harrisburg, Illinois. The announcement comes more than a week after a worker died in the mine. Chad Meyers, 30, died November 17 after becoming pinned by a continuous mining machine.

"The mine has failed to meet acceptable standards for safety, compliance and operating performance, and these ongoing issues make the operations unsustainable," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

A small piece of roofing fell in the early morning hours of Tuesday, October 30 at Willow Lake mine. No one was hurt, but the Mine Safety and Health Administration investigated the incident.

In July 2010, a miner was killed after being struck by a shuttle car used to haul coal underground, prompting the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to close the facility for an investigation.

The company sent letters to approximately 400 employees warning them about the impending mine closure. Peabody Energy will incur a one-time expense of $40 million to $60 million for the final three months of the fiscal year.


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