Pubradio report prompts mine-safety measures

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An investigation of a mine accident in Idaho by the Northwest News Network, a collaboration of public radio stations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, has prompted a federal agency to change how it handles documents regarding mine safety.

Last fall, N3 reporter Jessica Robinson learned that a federal geologist’s 2008 report about unstable rock conditions at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho, had never been sent to Helca Mining, which operates the mine. In April 2011, a miner died in a tunnel collapse at Lucky Friday.

In November Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, asked the Mine Safety and Health Administration to review its protocols for forwarding safety information to mine operators. Kline cited the public radio story about the geologist’s report.

The mine safety agency said it would meet with mine operators to discuss the findings and it would clarify its chain of internal communications.

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