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Roof collapses at salt mine; two miners missing

Cargill scene pic.jpg
Posted at 10:36 AM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 18:10:27-05

UPDATE: Two miners are missing after a roof collapse in the Avery Island salt mine.

We've received the following statement from Cargill:

Early this morning, Cargill’s Avery Island salt mine experienced a roof collapse. We have two employees who remain unaccounted for at this time and we are working with local first responders and the Mine Safety and Health Administration who are onsite to respond to this emergency. All 16 other employees working that shift have been evacuated with no injuries reported. The facility has been shut down to allow a complete investigation of the incident and ensure the safe operations of our facility.

KATC's Eman Boyd is at the Avery Island mine and will have more on the incident.

Records at the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration show about 50 citations issued at the Avery Island Mine for alleged violations of federal safety and health standards for mines over the course of 2020.

Those records show inspections carried out in February, March, April, May, June, September, November and December of this year.

The most recent citation, issued on December 3, was for "ground conditions that create a hazard to persons shall be taken down or supported before other work or travel is permitted in the affected area. Until corrective work is completed, the area shall be posted with a warning against entry and, when left unattended, a barrier shall be installed to impede unauthorized entry."

Other citations over 2020 were issued for violations regarding firefighting equipment, danger signs, safety equipment, safety defect processes and parking procedures for equipment.

The mine was cited for at least four times recently for violation of a regulation that requires maintenance of "self-rescue" equipment for miners. The regulation requires that a self-rescue device be available for every person in the mine.

Fines were levied for all of the citations issued prior to November, with most of them identified as closed. Two of the citations are listed as delinquent; they were issued to Master Drilling USA. Only a few of the citations were issued to Master Drilling; almost all of them were issued to Cargill Deicing Technology.