More Explosions at Shoal Creek Mine
By Alabama Public Radio
Adger, AL – A coal mine in west Jefferson County recently inspected by state safety officials remains closed. There have been at least three explosions in the mine since Friday. On Friday, 140 miners were evacuated from Shoal Creek Mine after a pocket of methane gas apparently ignited. Since then, the mine has remained closed, and there have been at least two more underground explosions on Sunday and Monday. Federal mine safety inspectors say the severity of those blasts is unknown since the mine remains too dangerous to enter. There have been no injuries, and inspectors say they are unsure when production might resume. Shoal Creek Mine is one of the largest coal mines in the nation. It employs about 820 people and produces 2-point-2 million tons of coal per year. The mine was among more than a dozen mines to recently undergo court-ordered safety inspections in recent weeks. This, after the local mining union won a lawsuit accusing the state of failing to follow its own safety inspection schedule.