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MSHA News Release: [05/19/2009]
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: 202-693-9423
Release Number 09-564-PHI


MSHA, Tri-Star Mining Inc. reach settlement agreement
Highwall failure at Maryland surface mine in 2007 killed 2 miners


ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced that an administrative law judge of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has approved a settlement between MSHA and Tri-Star Mining Inc. regarding an April 2007 highwall failure that resulted in the death of two coal miners at Tri-Star Mining's western Maryland surface operation. The mine operator will pay a total of $105,324 in penalties.

As a result of its investigation into the accident, MSHA issued several violations, including three unwarrantable failures for violations that contributed to the highwall collapse. One was amended to a 104(a) citation with high negligence.

"No dollar amount can replace a human life," said Michael A. Davis, MSHA's deputy assistant secretary for operations. "However, a penalty amount exceeding $100,000 has been approved by the commission in this case. This penalty will serve notice to the mine operator that safety must always be the top priority."

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