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DOL News Release No.: 04-2212-DEN
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Richard Kulczewski
Phone: (303) 844-1302

Released Friday, October 22, 2004

Nearly $600,000 in Mine Safety and Health Contracts Awarded in Colorado
Colorado School of Mines, Blackhawk GeoServices to Conduct Seismic Testing


DENVER — The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded a $229,489 contract to the Colorado School of Mines and a $363,889 contract to Blackhawk GeoServices of Golden, Colo., for seismic tomography demonstrations to locate air- and water-filled mine voids.

"The incident at Quecreek shows that the danger of mining coal in the vicinity of poorly mapped, abandoned and inaccessible coal mines is not uncommon," said Assistant Secretary of Labor Dave D. Lauriski during the announcement in Golden. "Both Blackhawk and the Colorado School of Mines have many tools and geophysical techniques at their disposal that can potentially increase the success and reliability of accurately detecting mine voids."

The geophysical technology contracts were awarded as part of a $10 million appropriation to detect mine voids and digitize mine maps in the wake of the 2002 flooding at the Quecreek mine in Somerset, Pa. MSHA received 58 different proposals from eight universities, two state geological survey organizations and 13 private companies. Eight teams of engineers, scientists and university professors formally evaluated each proposal. Ultimately, MSHA selected eight organizations for contract awards to demonstrate several types of technologies for detecting underground mine voids.

The Colorado School of Mines will conduct seismic tomography at the Edgar Experimental Mine in Idaho Springs. Blackhawk GeoServices will demonstrate a similar technique at Black Beauty Coal Co.'s Riola Mine in Illinois.