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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

MSHA News Release: [05/19/2009]
Contact Name: Amy Louviere
Phone Number: (202) 693-9423
Release Number: 09-0564-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."