The Kensington mine accident that killed Juneau resident Joe Tagaban last week is the eighth U.S. mining fatality in 2011, according to the Mining Safety and Health Administration. It was also the first explosives fatality for the year.
An updated report from MSHA indicates Tagaban was waiting on a ramp for the blast to be initiated. And when it was, small rock and debris traveled through a 3-inch diameter diamond borehole, striking him.
The regulatory agency says the hole should have been mapped and plugged.
The report lists several best practices for using underground explosives; that includes evacuating all persons from the designated blasting site.
MSHA is asking for other suggestions to prevent such an accident.
The underground section of the Kensington mine where the accident occurred was closed for a week during the initial investigation.
While the mine is back in full operation, no blasting can be conducted in production areas underground until MSHA says it’s safe.
The company is working with the agency to finalize blasting protocols in production stopes. Blasting activities related to mine development are continuing.
According to MSHA, there were 14 U.S. metal and non-metal mining fatalities reported in 2010.
Click here for the MSHA “Fatalgram.”
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.