Petition - Docket No. M-97-06-M

7/14/2017 Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) - Petitions for Modification - Finalized Petitions: Cobra Mining Company Continental Undergroun...


December 2, 1998




ON Mining Company






On September 24, 1997, a petition was filed by Cobre Mining Company seeking a modification of the application of 30 CFR 57.11055 (inclined escapeways) to its Continental Underground Complex (1.D. No. 29- 00233) located in Grant County, New Mexico. The petition alleged that the proposed alternative method, modifying the cage compartment of the No. 2 shaft to a manway to be used as a secondary escapeway in the event of a mine emergency or fire, would at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by the standard.


Standard 57.11055 Inclined escapeways, provides:


Any portion of a designated escapeway which is inclined more than 30 degrees from the horizontal and that is more than 300 feet in vertical extent shall be provided with an emergency hoisting facility.


MSHA investigators conducted an investigation relevant to the merits of the petition and filed a report of their findings with the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal. After a careful review of the entire record, including the petition and investigative report, this Proposed Decision and Order is issued.




The alternate method proposed by the petitioner will not at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection as afforded miners under 30 CFR Section 57.11055. Section 57.11055 requires the installation of an emergency hoist facility in any portion of a designated escapeway inclined more than 30 degrees from horizontal and more than 300 feet in length. The investigation of this petition found that it is possible for the petitioner to provide an underground emergency hoist facility between the 1000 and 1300 levels. The distance between the levels is 326 feet. The availability of the emergency hoist would not diminish the miners' safety and would, in fact, enhance their safety by making the emergency egress faster and easier. Miners would not be required to climb a tedious, extended ladderway, but in the event of an emergency could be transported in an emergency hoist.


Emergencies such as fires, inundations, and massive ground falls are historically associated with underground mining disasters and have occurred where no potential was thought to exist. Prompt egress is the most critical factor to the saving of lives in many emergency situations. During one of these emergencies, a ladderway 326 feet in length, could slow miners' egress and result in the miners becoming indefinitely or fatally entrapped, if the primary escapeway were to become unavailable.




Wherefore, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Secretary of Labor to the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal and pursuant to Section 101§ of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C., Section 811(c), it is ordered that modification of the application of 30 CFR 57.11055 (inclined escapeways) to its Continental Underground Complex as it pertains to using an alternative emergency and escape system out of the mine, is hereby DENIED.

Any party to this action desiring a hearing must file a request for hearing within 30 days after service of the Proposed Decision and Order, in accordance with 30 CFR.44.14, with the Administrator of Metal.and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health, 201 12th Street South, Suite 401, Arlington, VA 22202-5450.

If a hearing is requested, the reqest shall contain a concise summary of position on the issues of fact or law desired to be raised by the party requesting the hearing, inc!uding specific objections to the Proposed Decision and Order. A party other than the petitioner who requested a hearing shall also comment upon all itsues of fact or law presented in the petition. Any party to this action requesting a hearing may indicate a desired hearing site. If no request for a hearing is filed within 30 days after service thereof, this Proposed Decision and Order will become final and must be posted by the operator on the mine bulletin board at the mine.

For Is/ Edward E. Lopez



Edward C.Hugler

Acting Administrator for Metal.

and Nonmetal Mme Safety/ and Health