U.S. may issue record fine to Massey Energy for accident: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2011 12:08 AM

(Reuters) - Federal regulators are expected to issue the largest fine ever to a U.S. mining company in connection with the Massey Energy accident last year that killed 29 coal miners in West Virginia, the Wall Street Journal said, citing two people briefed on the matter.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which is set to release its report Tuesday on the accident at the Upper Big Branch mine, is expected to issue about 360 safety citations, the Journal said.

"It is going to be the most ever in the history of the agency," a person briefed on the safety agency's Upper Big Branch report told the Journal.

"We haven't seen the final report itself, so we're not prepared to comment," a spokesman for Alpha Natural Resources Inc, which purchased Massey in June and will be responsible for all fines, told the Journal.

The Journal said a spokeswoman for the agency could not immediately be reached for comment.

Both Alpha Natural Resources and MSHA could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore)