7 Dec 2011

Coal company to pay $US200m over mine disaster

9:06 am on 7 December 2011

The New York Times reports a mining company has agreed to pay more than $US200 million in restitution and penalties following a mine explosion in West Virginia last year that killed 29 men.

Officials say is the largest ever settlement in a government investigation of a mine disaster.

The company, Alpha Natural Resources, agreed to make the payment for the role played by its subsidiary, Massey Energy.

The settlement,follows months of investigative work by federal officials as well as an independent state commission.

Their findings placed the blame for the blast on Massey and what investigators said was its reckless disregard for safety standards, but have stopped short of assigning criminal blame.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alpha said it agreed to invest $US80 million over the next two years in added safety measures at legacy Massey mines and Alpha mines.

It will establish a $US48 million trust to fund research and development projects designed to improve mine health and safety and pay $US46.5 million to families of the dead miners and two other individuals affected by the explosion.

It said $US16.5 million of that sum has already been paid in settlements and anticipated settlements.

Alpha also agreed to pay $US34.8 million to settle outstanding safety citations, violations, and orders related to the investigation into the explosion.