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American Energy Miners Take Gold

July 2, 2011
By CASEY JUNKINS - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The mine rescue team from American Energy Corp.'s Century Mine took first place in all three components of the 2011 Ohio Mine Safety Competition, held June 22 at the J.L.S. Mine Training Center in Cadiz.

American Energy Corp. is an independent operating subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp.

This is the third time a Murray Energy subsidiary has won the Ohio Mine Safety Competition. In the state's 2008 contest, the mine rescue team from subsidiary The Ohio Valley Coal Co., Powhatan No. 6 Mine took first place, edging out the Century Mine rescue team, which finished second. In 2009, the Century Mine rescue team finished first, as it did again this year.

Article Photos

Photo provided
Winning first place during the 2011 Ohio Mine Safety Competition are these miners from American Energy Corp.’s Century Mine. From left are Jason Dornon, David Adams, Michael Lodi, Dan Panepucci, Rick Wilson, Casey Orndorf, Ernie Van Dyne and Matt Hoover.

"Safety is the primary concern in all our mining operations, and having a well-trained rescue team provides a level of preparedness and safety that benefits all of our miners," said Kevin Hughes, superintendent and general manager of American Energy Corp. in Beallsville. "We are extremely proud of our mine rescue team and support them in their dedication to emergency preparedness. There simply is no substitute for being prepared and knowing what to do in an emergency."

Members of this year's winning rescue team are Captain Jason Dornon, David Adams, Mike Lodi, Casey Orndorf, Matt Hoover, Rick Wilson, Ernie VanDyne and Dan Panepucci.

There were three components to this year's competition. In the field exercise, mine rescue teams were required to solve a hypothetical mine rescue problem while judges rated them on how well they followed safety procedures and completed specific tasks. In the second exercise, the teams completed a similar challenge, but in a simulated mine where smoke reduced visibility and required use of self-contained breathing apparatus. The bench competition required team members to test breathing apparatus to detect problems and to correct those problems so the units functioned properly.

The Century Mine Team finished first in all three; the mine rescue team from The Ohio Valley Coal Co. finished second in the field exercise and third in both the smoke and bench contests.

"The men on this team are committed to being the first line of response to saving our fellow miners in an emergency - all the teams here feel that way," Century Mine team captain Jason Dornon said. "When there is a real emergency, we want to be prepared and ready to go because that helps save lives. It is important and demanding work and we take it very seriously."

Workers at the mine volunteer for rescue team duty and undergo specialized training in mine emergency rescue operations. The team holds frequent practice and training sessions - to prepare for competitions, and more importantly, to be ready to respond in the event of an actual mine emergency.

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