CONSOL: Blacksville No. 2 to Reopen May 20 - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

CONSOL: Blacksville No. 2 to Reopen May 20

Posted: Updated:

Update 5/16/13

CONSOL has received approval from MSHA and state agencies to resume mining operations at the Blacksville No. 2 mine.

The mine was evacuated on March 12 when smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff Shaft. CONSOL Energy expects full operations at the mine to begin with the morning shift on May 20.

Update: 5/8/13

CONSOL Energy issued an update Wednesday about progress at its Blacksville No. 2 mine.

Teams completed construction of 21 seals at the Kuhntown and Orndoff locations of the mine Tuesday. The seals will set for about a week while they cure to the strength required by the approved construction plan.

CONSOL submitted a plan to state and federal agencies to prepare the mine to resume production. A restart date hasn't been determined yet, said CONSOL, as the plan is pending approval from state and federal agencies.

Update: 4/29/13

Advance teams from CONSOL Energy continue to work on construction of seals at the Kuhntown and Orndoff locations of the Blacksville No. 2 mine, according to an updated issued Monday from CONSOL Energy.

The advance teams have complete installation of 13 of the 21 seals, which will replace four older sets of seals and will reduce the area mine examiners must travel by approximately 4,000 feet, helping to reduce exposure and hazards to employees, according to CONSOL Energy.

CONSOL Energy teams began pumping concrete for two of the seals over the weekend and bolting, wall construction and cleaning for all seal sites is underway, according to the update.

CONSOL Energy said that it anticipates completion of seal construction will occur in early to mid-May. At that time, teams will then begin preparing the mine to resume operations.

A firm date has not been set, however, as the mine is subject to approval by state and federal agencies first, according to CONSOL Energy.

Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.

Update: 4/17/13

CONSOL Energy teams are working on construction of the seals at the Orndoff and Kuhntown Blacksville No. 2 mine locations and are conducting regular examinations of the mine.

Pumping the first permanent seal was completed Tuesday afternoon and a second completed Wednesday. Crews hope to complete six of the 21 seals by Saturday evening. Teams continue to clean and prep the other areas for the final seal construction and are making progress, according to a news release from CONSOL.

The Blacksville No. 2 mine was evacuated on March 12 when smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff shaft. It remains unknown when the mine will resume production.

Update: 4/10/13

CONSOL Energy's Blacksville No. 2 mine has resumed normal pre-shift examinations as well as regular weekly airway inspections of the mine.

Mine examiners have completed their examinations of the entire mine and the advance teams are working on constructing seals. The examination didn't reveal any significant issues pertaining to the safe operation of the mine, according to a news release issued Wednesday by CONSOL.

Water accumulation was found in several locations during the mine examinations. CONSOL said it has received approval to power the rectifiers for the purpose of de-watering these areas and the work is ongoing. The process has been successful, CONSOL said, and all haulage tracks within the mine are safe for traveling.

Crews are on site to monitor gas levels, which have remained steady, according to the news release.

It remains unknown when the Blacksville No. 2 mine will resume production.

Update: 4/5/13

Mine examiners at the Blacksville No. 2 mine have completed an examination of the haulage trackers and belt entries between the Kuhntown shaft and Wanna shaft mine areas. Examiners have been checking airways and mine rescue teams have completed cleaning one seal site in the Kuhntown area and are preparing framework for the seal while they work to clean additional seal sites, according to an update issued Friday from CONSOL.

Water continues to be pumped out of the mine and an additional pump is being installed Friday to help this effort. CONSOL's team homes to have the mine examined by April 8. A reopen date remains unknown.

Update: 4/3/13

CONSOL Energy crews installed permanent stoppings at the Kuhntown and Orndoff seal sites of the Blacksville No. 2 mine. The teams continue to inject nitrogen into two boreholes and plan to begin injecting nitrogen into a third borehole Wednesday. Dewatering pumps are running to maintain a water level that allows the team to travel by rail to the Orndoff shaft site and to prepare sites for final, permanent seals.

CONSOL received approval of its plan to examine a portion of coal mined from state, federal agencies and the local union, according to a news release from the company. The teams implemented this plan at 11:15 a.m. as certified mine examiners entered the mine.

CONSOL Energy's team continues to monitor the situation. It's unknown when the Blacksville No. 2 mine will resume production, according to the news release.

Update: 3/30/13

At approximately 8:56 a.m. on March 27, the first two CONSOL Energy advance teams entered the Blacksville No. 2 mine following necessary elevator checks at the Kuhntown portal, according to CONSOL Energy.

The teams conducted "an initial examination of the active mining area near the Kuhntown portal, repaired one discharge line, isolated electrical power in the Kuhntown bottom and established a source of electrical power through one borehole to the Kuhntown bottom," according to CONSOL Energy.

Weekly electrical checks have also been performed by the teams on five vehicles. CONSOL Energy said that several compressed air de-watering pumps have also been installed so that the teams can expand their examination to the Orndoff shaft of the mine.

According to CONSOL, gas levels have remained steady since entering the mine and consistent CO readings have confirmed that the fire is out.

On March 29, the teams were brought to the surface for approximately six hours. At this time, officials evaluated the increase of oxygen levels at established boreholes from the surface, and the teams were able to reenter the mine at approximately 4:30 p.m. that day.

CONSOL Energy said its team will remain on-site around the clock to monitor gas levels and to oversee the situation. It is still unknown when production at the mine will resume, according to CONSOL.

More information will be provided when it becomes available. 

Update:

CONSOL Energy has received approval from MSHA, state, and UMWA officials to re-enter the Blacksville No. 2 mine, which was evacuated on March 12 when smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff shaft, according to a news release from CONSOL.

Officials will continue to monitor the mine atmosphere before re-entering, which is scheduled for 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 27 if monitoring indicates that its safe to enter.

Blacksville No. 2 Mine produces approximately 400,000 tons of coal per month under normal operations, according to CONSOL.

Update:

CONSOL Energy believes the underground fire at the Blacksville No. 2 mine that had been burning since Tuesday, March 12, has been extinguished. Crews pumped water into the mine to complete the water seals. Mine atmosphere readings indicate that gas levels remain steady and oxygen levels continue to decrease, according to an update from CONSOL.

A completed re-entry plan for the mine is being reviewed by MSHA, state and UMWA officials Thursday. Once the mine has been fully sealed, the team will work with state and federal agencies to monitor the mine atmosphere to determine when it will be safe to re-enter the mine.

As the mine remains idle, employees are being notified that they are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits and their current benefit plan remains in effect, according to CONSOL. CONSOL said it has been working closely with federal and state mine officials and local union officials to put these employees back to work as soon as possible.

Update:

Crews are preparing to begin pumping nitrogen at the Blacksville No. 2 mine, in an effort to deplete oxygen, into an additional borehole, according to an update from CONSOL Energy.

The drilling process for the isolation walls continues and six of eight boreholes have been completed from the surface. All materials needed to pump the isolation walls are on site and pumping was set to begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Drilling sites near the Kuhntown portal are prepped and drilling rigs are on standby if additional boreholes are needed.

Crews remain on site around the clock monitoring gas levels in the mine.

We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Update:

Crews at the Blacksville No. 2 mine continue to monitor gases in the mine atmosphere.

The level of CO is decreasing, according to MSHA.  Tuesday morning, 11.4 million gallons of water have been induced and 6.2 million cubic feet of nitrogen have been injected into the mine.  

Material to install remote seals is expected to be delivered to the mine late Tuesday or Wednesday.

Update:

CONSOL, working with federal and state authorities, made progress to extinguish the fire that caused 121 day shift employees to evacuate the Blacksville No. 2 mine on March 12 at 2 p.m., according to a news release from CONSOL.

Fifteen strategically placed boreholes were drilled into the mine, while two of the holes are being used to inject water into the affected area, with one positioned directly over the fire. One borehole is being used to inject nitrogen, a gas used to deplete oxygen, another borehole is being used to measure the water level in the mine, another is monitoring the mine atmosphere and eight boreholes will be used to install remote isolation plugs.

Crews detected elevated gas levels in the mine Saturday, which built up as a result of CONSOL getting water to the fire area and reducing oxygen content. As a precaution, the Kuhntown portal building was evacuated for twelve hours until the levels were safe.

Update:

Five boreholes have now been drilled into the Blacksville No. 2 Mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania after smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff shaft on Tuesday, Amy Louviere of MSHA said Friday.

A camera has also been lowered into the boreholes, and smoke has been detected at varying levels. Louviere said temperature registered 100 to 105 degrees from one of the boreholes. This borehole is believed to be closest to the fire.

As of 4:02 p.m. on Friday afternoon, 1.21 million gallons of water have been pumped into the mine at an estimated 125,000 gallons of water per shift, according to Louviere.

Emergency work at the mine will continue through the weekend, Louviere said.

Update:

Emergency work continues at the Blacksville No. 2 Mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania after smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff shaft on Tuesday, according to Jesse Lawder of MSHA.

The first borehole has been drilled to a depth of 907 feet and it is estimated that the drill will intersect the mine Thursday afternoon. The second borehole is down a depth of 45 feet, and holes three, four, and five are all in the preparation stages, according to Lawder.

Lawder said water is still being trucked to a borehole and dumped into the mine. The mine is also in the process of laying a waterline from a pond near the Orndoff fan to the first borehole.

Once the first borehole intersects with the mine, a camera will be used to look underground and water from the pond will be dumped into the mine, according to Lawder.

Recent readings at the Orndoff fan indicate that 370 ppm of CO is in the shaft, Lawder said.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, approximately 800,000 gallons of water were pumped into the mine through the Orndoff shaft.  Infrastructure is being built to accommodate trucks and pumps to deliver water from additional sources, according to CONSOL.

CONSOL, as well as UMWA, MSHA and the state of West Virginia are continuing to maintain presence around the clock at the mine and will be working together to gain control of the fire, according to Lawder.

Update:

CONSOL Energy has drilled the first of three boreholes down approximately 157 feet, near where the fire is believed to be located, according to MSHA.

MSHA plans to begin drilling the second hole, which will be located down wind of the suspected fire area, also on Wednesday.  Officials plan to monitor the fire atmosphere through the borehole.  A third hole will be drilled approximately 300 feet from the first one, according to MSHA.

MSHA said approximately 250,000 gallons of water have been induced since midnight.  CONSOL is in the process of installing an 8-inch line to a 1,000 gallon per minute pump and is injecting Nitrogen into the sealed area.

Update:

Crews at CONSOL Energy's Blacksville No. 2 mine were evacuated Tuesday around 2 p.m. after smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff shaft at the mine near Wayne in Greene County, Pa.

All 121 day shift underground employees evacuated safely through the Kuhntown portal, according to Lynn Seay with CONSOL. No injuries were reported.

Overnight Tuesday, CONSOL Energy, working with federal and state authorities, identified the general location of a fire burning underground and created a plan to contain it and extinguish the fire.

The plan includes two primary strategies, including mobilizing all resources to maximize the amount of water that can be injected into the mine near the site where CONSOL believes the fire is located and to conduct air sampling to monitor CO and methane levels in the mine.

CONSOL opened an existing borehole at the Orndoff shaft around midnight Tuesday and by 8 a.m. Wednesday, 125,000 gallons of water had been pumped into the mine.  The company is in the process of deploying three vertical drilling rigs to drill additional boreholes near the Orndoff shaft, which will allow crews to increase the volume of water that can be pumped into the mine, according to a news release from CONSOL.

One of the rigs is already on-site, said Seay, and it began drilling operations at 9:30 Wednesday morning.  A second rig should arrive by 5 p.m. Wednesday and is in the process of being shipped from CONSOL's Bailey mine.

Tuesday night, CONSOL Energy canceled midnight and Wednesday day shifts at the mine and today confirms that all shifts will be canceled so that the remediation plan can continue.

All CONSOL Energy hourly employees at the Blacksville No. 2 Mine and Prep Plant can tune into AM 1170 and FM WRLF 94.3 for future work announcements. It is unknown at this time when mine operations will resume.   No personnel will re-enter the mine until it is determined that it is safe to do so. 
 

Update:

MSHA's Mine Emergency Operations Unit also responded and is now at the mine with monitoring equipment and gas analysis equipment.  

Officials are holding a meeting at this time to determine the next course of action. 

Original Story:

CONSOL Energy's Blacksville No. 2 mine was evacuated Tuesday after smoke was detected exiting a shaft at the mine, according to Lynn Seay of CONSOL Energy.

Around 2 p.m. Tuesday, smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff shaft at the mine, which is located near Wayne in Greene County, Pennsylvania, Seay said.

Evacuation of the mine through the Kuhntown portal occurred Tuesday afternoon and appropriate support personnel and assessment teams are currently responding to the mine, Seay said.

All miners have been evacuated and are outside of the mine, including three personnel who were working in the area of where the fire appears to be located.  MSHA Coal Mine Safety and Health personnel were at the mine doing inspection work and issued a 103(k) order, according to MSHA.

Rescue teams that had initially gone underground to locate the fire are also accounted for, according to MSHA. When crews felt heat and entered heavy smoke, the teams withdrew and returned to the mine surface.

Federal and state officials have also been notified and CONSOL Energy has canceled afternoon shift work at the mine Tuesday.

CONSOL Energy said it will provide updated information when it's available.