Mine ordered sealed; owner charged
October 8, 2004
In a rare move, the state Department of Environmental Protection has
ordered a Zerbe Township coal mine be shut down and says its owner will be
charged by police for a confrontation in which an inspectors hard hat was
knocked off his head.
J. Scott Roberts, DEP deputy secretary for mineral resources
management, announced Thursday that a compliance order was issued against
the Mark P. Shingara Coal-No. 1 Slope Mine for operating an unmapped and
unpermitted mine and for repeatedly failing to secure a mining license and
insurance for the site.
In addition, charges are being filed by state police on behalf of DEP
for the altercation involving Shingara and a DEP deep mine safety program
inspector. There was no report from the Stonington state police barracks
as of Thursday.
The lesson of Quecreek is that you dont send miners underground
without accurate mine maps, especially in an area that has already been
mined extensively and where unmapped mines are known to exist, Roberts
said. Pennsylvanias mine safety regulations are intended to protect the
safety of underground miners, and we will not allow an unlicensed mine
operator to interfere with our deep mine inspectors or to operate an
DEP is directing the coal operation to seal its No. 1 Slope Mine and
begin reclamation of the site.
The only phone listing for a Mark Shingara in the Trevorton area
produced a recording that the number was out of service.
Shingara Coal was cited by the department for operating illegally in
January. The company was ordered to submit license, permit and insurance
paperwork and to provide the department with certified mine maps. The
deadline had been extended several times, with the final compliance date
set for Sept. 23, DEP reported.
The altercation with the mine safety inspector occurred Friday, Sept.
24, when the inspector arrived to investigate reports of illegal mining at
the site and inquire on the status of the maps.
The federal Mine Safety Health
Administration also has ordered Shingara Coal to cease all mining
activities because the company does not have a
contractual arrangement for deep-mine rescue coverage.