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West Virginia to be the site of two new coal mines, despite safety concerns

This week, Ramaco Development announced it will build two coal mines in Elk Creek and Berwind. The company's CEO says the mines will provide jobs for approximately 400 people. He expects the mines to be operational in 2017.

Hundreds of miners in West Virginia have been laid off over the last several years. These two new mines can help get some of those people back to work.

While this is good news for West Virginia coal miners, it comes within days of the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) "call to safety" for coal miners nationwide. This initiative includes mine inspectors meeting with mine operators and workers for safety "walk and talks" during September.

How does our state compare to others in mine accidents?

The MSHA released data showing that West Virginia had the most nonfatal mining accidents in the nation since October 2015: 419. The state with the second-highest rate of accidents was Kentucky with 191. In addition, West Virginia's number of coal miner deaths is the highest in the country.

One of the reasons that the state has such high rates of fatal and nonfatal accidents is due to a poor safety record. The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says that the state's coal mines saw safety violations increase 50 percent since 2007.

What can injured miners do?

If you or a family member suffers an on-the-job injury, you can apply for workers' compensation. Depending on the details of the accident, you may be able to seek additional financial damages from a negligent third party. Discuss your mining accident with an experienced lawyer to learn what types of compensation you may be entitled to receive.

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