MSHA to Provide $10m in Grants For Training of Miners

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has announced the availability of $10,537,000 in state grant funding to provide federally mandated training and retraining of miners and mine operators at surface and underground coal and metal and non-metal mines.

Under Section 503 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, any state in which mining takes place may apply for the grant. MSHA may fund 80 percent of the activities under a state grant program, and the state must provide matching funds of no less than 20 percent of the total program costs.

The deadline to submit an application is July 16. For funding consideration, applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov.

So far this year, MSHA has announced 10 mining deaths: 5 each in coal and metal/non-metal sectors.

Meantime, the Denver Post reports that the parents of two truck passengers who died after crashing into a gaping mine shaft on U.S. Forest Service land have sued Colorado and U.S. agencies that identified the shaft as a hazard, received money to fill it, but failed to do so.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver on behalf of the estates of Sarah Ball and Peter Kim and their parents, Elizabeth and Logan Ball of Boulder and Hang and Hyun Kim of Aurora, against the United States of America and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety.

Isaac Lutz, 31, was driving a Korean War-era truck on Forest Service Road 456.1 when he reached a fork in the road near Switzerland Trail, according to news accounts and the lawsuit. The north route was partially blocked by three tree limbs stacked six feet high, according to the lawsuit.

Lutz drove onto the South Fork, which leads up and over a mound of dirt and down into the mine shaft. The truck crashed into the shaft, which is 10 to 20 feet wide and 22 to 25 feet deep. The truck did not have seat belts and during the crash, Lutz, Ball and Kim were all thrown from the vehicle.

The teenage passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. The shaft has since been filled.