News & Media

Arch Coal's Mock Mine Disaster Sharpens Rescue, Communication Skills

October 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM EDT

HOLMES MILL, Ky. (October 10, 2007) - Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) conducted a mock safety drill today at Lone Mountain Processing, Inc., situated between Harlan County, Ky. and Lee County, Va.

The full-day rescue exercise involved more than 100 federal and state officials, miners and personnel role-playing as family members and reporters. While the mock disaster focused on Lone Mountain's Clover Fork mine in eastern Kentucky, employees from across Arch's national network of mines participated in various capacities, including mine rescuers, family and media relations and performance evaluators.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL) were on site to participate in the voluntary exercise. A total of five mine rescue teams participated, including three from OMSL and MSHA as well as Arch's teams from Lone Mountain and Mountain Laurel.

"It's essential to prepare, but we hope we never need to deploy these skills," says Tony Bumbico, Arch's vice president of safety. "The mock disaster gave everyone a chance to sharpen their individual skills and learn how to respond during a high-stress situation."

The mock scenario involved a crew trapped underground and was filled with plot twists and turns. A smoke machine limited visibility and challenged the mine rescue teams to use alternative means for locating the missing miners, who were ultimately found inside a refuge chamber provided by Strata Products, Inc.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal is one of the nation's largest coal producers. The company's core business is providing U.S. power generators with clean-burning, low-sulfur coal for electric generation. Through its national network of mines, Arch supplies the fuel for approximately 6 percent of the electricity generated in the United States.