MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 men two years ago Thursday will be permanently sealed with concrete.
Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources, which acquired the mine when it bought Massey Energy last summer, says it will seal the portals — large tunnels miners use to get underground — at the Upper Big Branch mine. Boreholes will be plugged and shafts that house the huge industrial fans meant to sweep bad air out of the mine will be capped to prevent any access. The company says the job should be finished by summer.
Meanwhile, the mother and siblings of one of those killed sued former Massey Energy chief Don Blankenship, along with eight others they hold responsible for the worst U.S. coal mining disaster in four decades.