Update from Massey Energy

April 7, 2010 by Ken Ward Jr.

Mine Explosion

And here’s an update that was just issued by Massey Energy:

JULIAN, WV, April 7, 2010 – Massey Energy Company (NYSE:MEE) is providing the following information in an effort to update the media and the public regarding ongoing rescue and recovery efforts at the Upper Big Branch mine.

When will the victims be identified?

There are twenty five confirmed fatalities.  Two workers remain hospitalized.

Eleven have been identified.  Seven of the identified have been removed from the site.  Four of the identified remain in the coal mine.

Fourteen have been confirmed as fatalities but not identified.

The mine rescue teams’ job is to search for survivors.  The mine rescue teams have a limited amount of air and have to cover as much of the mine as fast as they can in their search for survivors.  While focused on looking for survivors, the teams encountered unfavorable atmospheric conditions.  The teams were ordered to exit the mine quickly before they could identify all the fatally injured miners.  As soon as atmospheric conditions in the mine improve, mine rescue teams will re-enter the mine to continue the search for the four missing workers and recover and identify the bodies of the fourteen unidentified victims.

What are the next steps?

Massey will continue to provide regular updates to the family members.

There are four drilling rigs on site and the Company is currently drilling bore holes approximately 1100 feet into the mine to bring the atmospheric conditions to a safe level that will allow the mine rescue teams to re-enter and continue their search and rescue efforts.

One bore hole reached the headgate area of the mine early this morning.  An exhaust fan will be placed on the hole to remove bad air from the mine.

A second bore hole is 535 feet down in the same area.

A third bore hole is 100 feet down in an area north of the headgate area.  This hole will be use to monitor underground atmospheric conditions.

A fourth bore hole will be placed in the tailgate area to monitor underground atmospheric conditions and a fifth hole will be placed in the headgate area.

How is Massey Energy communicating with the families?

Massey Energy is devoting its attention and resources to the ongoing rescue efforts and the families.  The Company is committed to providing the families with accurate, timely information.

In an effort to ensure the families receive only information confirmed by State and Federal Authorities, the Company established an area at the Performance Coal Training Center for families to meet directly with Company and Government Officials.  Chairman Don Blankenship participated in meetings with the families on Monday and Tuesday.  Now that the drilling work has begun to penetrate the seams and the rescue teams are waiting for the atmosphere to improve, Blankenship will begin more in depth meetings with the families.

Company officials met with the families at the Performance Coal Training Center earlier this morning and will continue to meet every two hours with the families.

In addition, the Company has established a toll free hotline (1-877-534-5180) for families to call if they require counseling or other services and assistance.  Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center is coordinating counseling services.

A call center hotline has also been established for media inquiries.  Members of the media may call 1-877-534-5180.

9 Responses to “Update from Massey Energy”

  1. Vnxq809 says:

    For the life of me I just can’t understand why Massey is just now getting around to issuing this type of release….One would think they would have some pretty savvy media relations folks either in-house or available to guide them through this horrible ordeal regarding statements, updates and the like….Seems to me it would have helped dispel @ least some of the seemingly endless barrage of misinformation from armchair media types – both cable and print….I know they are going to be branded as the “evil empire” w/ the “antichrist leader” anyway but it would seem to me to be beneficial….I’m sure the families would appreciate it as well…..

    Easy to be critical from where I sit…..That’s just my opinion as I ponder what I would do if faced with the same situation as one similarly situated…

  2. Disgusted says:

    Blankenship appeared to already be blaming the miners themselves for the explosion in a TV interview last night. As if, mining company was not responsible for properly ventilating the shaft. Hopefully all the facts will come out. The US Attorney and County Prosecutors need access to all information, too. If, and that’s a big “if,” crimes were committed, then hold the people and companies responsible. 25 dead miners, God Almighty, what a tragedy.

  3. Vnxq809 says:


    I noticed a graphic of the mine map on the main Gazette webpage…..Would it be possible for you to atttach this graphic as a .pdf type link on your blog??….

    It would be greatly appreciated…..

  4. what is the design criteria for sealing worked out sections.

    John w.bugler

    Is this a sago saga part 2.
    If so who is accountable.

  5. Vnxq809 says:

    Currently MSHA requires minimum 120psi seals on new construction….Existing seals of lesser certified strength are allowed but must follow a stringent sampling protocol to assess mine atmosphere in the sealed areas….

  6. clay ton says:

    Why do you think the coal miners organized a union on the 19th and 20th century? Answer: the coal mine owners were ruthless and cruel. Here again in 2010 we find the workers victimized by greed. Those who invest in Massey Energy and other firms that do not place a high value on the workers who make their profit are complicit in guilt. Miners are held hostage to the almighty dollar and there are not many $20-25 an hour jobs where they live and for that matter in America today.

    CEO DON L BLANKENSHIP annual benefit cash and stock around $11 million

    Holder Shares Reported
    BLANKENSHIP DON L 291,223 8-Feb-10
    PHILLIPS BAXTER F JR 86,644 17-Nov-09
    INMAN BOBBY R 35,186 16-Feb-10
    JAROSINSKI JEFFREY M 34,068 17-Nov-08
    GEE GORDON 28,191 17-Feb-09

    Holder Shares % Out Value* Reported
    BlackRock Advisors, LLC 6,328,390 7.31 $265,855,663 31-Dec-09
    STATE STREET CORPORATION 4,761,576 5.50 $200,033,807 31-Dec-09
    DUQUESNE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC 4,271,900 4.94 $179,462,519 31-Dec-09
    VANGUARD GROUP, INC. (THE) 3,972,694 4.59 $166,892,874 31-Dec-09
    WESTFIELD CAPITAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY 3,224,315 3.73 $135,453,473 31-Dec-09
    LAZARD ASSET MANAGEMENT LLC 2,492,594 2.88 $104,713,873 31-Dec-09
    BLACKROCK INC. 2,118,723 2.45 $89,007,553 31-Dec-09
    BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. 2,111,323 2.44 $88,696,679 31-Dec-09
    WELLINGTON MANAGEMENT COMPANY, LLP 11,191,080 12.93 $470,137,270 31-Dec-09
    FMR LLC 9,416,110 10.88 $395,570,781 31-Dec-09

    Holder Shares % Out Value* Reported
    HARTFORD CAPITAL APPRECIATION FUND 2,459,340 2.84 $92,618,744 30-Nov-09
    Blackrock Funds-Energy & Resources Portfolio 1,944,840 2.25 $54,241,587 30-Sep-09
    FIDELITY SELECT PORTFOLIOS – ENERGY 1,796,705 2.08 $75,479,577 31-Dec-09
    VANGUARD/WINDSOR II 1,468,285 1.70 $42,712,410 31-Oct-09
    SELECT SECTOR SPDR FUND-ENERGY SELECT 1,302,031 1.50 $54,698,322 31-Dec-09
    SPDR (R) Ser Tr-SPDR (R) S&P (R) Metals & Mining ETF 1,080,278 1.25 $30,128,953 30-Sep-09
    FIDELITY SELECT PORTFOLIOS – NATURAL RESOURCES 1,058,900 1.22 $44,484,389 31-Dec-09
    HARTFORD MID CAP FUND 1,052,500 1.22 $39,637,150 30-Nov-09
    FIDELITY SELECT PORTFOLIOS – NATURAL GAS PORTFOLIO 995,100 1.15 $41,804,151 31-Dec-09
    FIDELITY BLUE CHIP GROWTH FUND 944,800 1.09 $39,691,048 31-Dec-09

  7. blue canary says:

    clayton, you might find this link interesting: “Massey Energy, West Virginia Mine Owner, Draws Scorn on Wall Street” http://abcnews.go.com/Business/massey-draws-scorn-wall-street/story?id=10301551

    Some big banks are cutting ties with Massey altogether.

  8. RalphDee says:

    The Massey lawyers have, no doubt, reviewed and approved every word posted by Massey. The lawyers have, no doubt, advised Mr. Blankenship and other Massey officials to make only minimal, necessary and guarded public statements until they have received and analyzed the official findings concerning the accident. Only then will they formulate a public, “for the record” statement concerning the incident. That statement will be designed to distnace the corporation as far as possible from criminal and civil liability for what has taken place.

    In his interview with Diane Sawyer, Mr. Blankenship is reported to have said: “I think every accident should be prevented, that’s what the definition of an accident is . . . Once we know what happened, we’ll know whether it was preventable by someone or not.” He is reported to have said, “Anything in life has risks.”

    Mr. Blankenship apparently feels that Massey did what it could to keep its miners out of harm’s way. He told Sawyer this: “Eighteen of the last 20 years we’ve been safer than the industry average, . . . We’re the leaders in safety innovation and continue to be more creative in the area of safety than any other company, in our opinion.”

    One wonders where Massey will stand vis-a-vis the industry average when the next industry calculations are made.

    A Scriptural citation for Mr. Blankenship and for the Massey Board: Proverbs 16:18

    Source of quotes from Sawyer interview: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/massey-energy-ceo-don-blankenship-speaks-diane-sawyer/story?id=10303713

  9. clay ton says:

    Few outside of the coal mining community of these regions understand the plight and history of corporate oppression and government complicity in the exploitation of this commodity and the abuse of the local citizenry. The problems for the miners started in the late 1800’s with the advancing industrial revolution, mining firms imported workers from Europe to ‘break’ the locals demands for wage and benefits. Similarly, no one understands the lives of the American migrant workers and food processing workers who put food on our tables. Citizens in America today want to be entertained….we want to ‘feel good’. As a relative once told me, ‘if it’s going to make me think, I don’t want to know about it.

    By next week this won’t be news, dancing with the stars, etc. will take their sorrowful place in the lives and imaginations of the American sheeple.

    Here are a few tidbits for review.

    see: 1911 Labor Movement Poster and FDR quotes

    Blankenship threatened his maid, denied her benefits…

    Richard Trumka is considered responsible for destroying the UMW at the Massey strike in 1984. Trumka is currently the president of the AFL-CIO.

    Please read this in it’s entirety:
    Excerpts for background to the situation workers endure today:

    In October 1984, 2,600 Massey (UMW union) miners struck company operations in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. After languishing on the picket line for nearly five months, the strike erupted into a full-scale battle with company thugs and state police in February 1985. President Reagan, like his British counterpart Margaret Thatcher, saw taking on and defeating the miners—long the most militant section of the working class—as crucial for imposing a permanent reduction in the living standards of the working class as a whole.
    Massey, then controlled by giant multinational conglomerates including Royal Dutch/Shell, hired a private army of paramilitary mercenaries and used armored personnel carriers and helicopters for its strikebreaking operations, while Democratic and Republican state governments and judges in the coal states sent state police to escort scabs through the miners’ picket lines and issued injunctions against the miners.

    The nation’s fourth largest coal company, Richmond, Virginia-based Massey Energy made $104 million last year, twice its 2008 profits, despite continued weak demand for coal. The profits were largely gained through a vicious cost-cutting campaign, including the elimination of 700 jobs, shutting down of higher-cost mines and “significant wage and benefit reductions,” according to a report on the NASDAQ web site…the company told investors it anticipated increasing production to 50 million tons and would increase profits by exporting more metallurgical coal to Asian steelmakers who were recovering faster than their European and US counterparts…Monday’s disaster—with the worst US mine death toll since 1984—is only the latest in a series of fatalities at Massey operations. In 2006 a fire at Massey-owned Aracoma Alma No 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia, killed two workers, Don I. Bragg, 33, and Ellery Elvis Hatfield, 47. Massey’s subsidiary agreed to plead guilty to 10 criminal charges, including one felony of falsifying safety records, and to pay a $4.2 million in fines, the largest ever levied in a mine fatality case….Massey is literally able to get away with murder because it has friends in high places. In 2002, former president George Bush named former Massey Energy official Stanley Suboleski to the MSHA review commission that decides all legal matters under the Federal Mine Act.
    STANLEY C. SUBOLESKI, Commissioner Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission 601 New Jersey Ave. NW, Suite 9500. Washington, D.C. 20001 http://www.fmshrc.gov/suboleski-bio.html

    Some of the most impoverished counties include McDowell and Mingo, two former strongholds of the UMWA. The UMWA betrayal of the 1984-85 strike at what was then known as AT Massey set the stage for a drastic rollback in the working conditions and living standards of coal miners throughout the industry. In September 1984, Massey refused to sign the Bituminous Coal Operators Association agreement—which set the standard for wages and benefits throughout the industry—and insisted that the UMW bargain separately with 14 different subsidiaries, maintaining the legal fiction that these were independent enterprises.

    Late last year, Massey signed a letter of agreement with Blankenship, guaranteeing the CEO a base salary in 2010 and 2011 of $83,333 per month, plus a target cash incentive bonus award for each year of $1,500,000, and millions more in performance-based stock incentives.
    Today only Mississippi is poorer than West Virginia.

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