BALTIMORE, MD (March 9, 2009) – On Friday, March 6, 2009 The International Coal Group (ICG), Vindex Energy Corporation at the Jackson Mountain surface coal mine site, located off Moores Hollow Road near Barton, Maryland had an accident during a routine blast at the mine site. The Company notified The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) that the blast caused the “end wall” to blow out casting earth and rock into an adjacent treatment pond. The pond, roughly one half acre in size, was nearly filled with overburden materials from the blast, displacing all water and sediment over the dam and down into a steep ravine off the Permit boundary. Much of the sediment was trapped by an access road below the pond; however, significant amounts of sediment were discharged onto adjacent upland forested slopes and into a tributary to Moores Run. The sediment, black and grey, has coated the stream channel for an estimated 1500-2000 feet. Moores Run flows into Georges Creek downstream of the Town of Barton and ultimately flows into the North Branch Potomac River at Westernport, Maryland.
There were no immediate aquatic life impacts apparent within the tributary, Moores Run and Georges Creek.
A private water supply for three residences in the valley was damaged interrupting the water supply to those residences. Vindex has provided bottled water to the occupied residences impacted and brought in water buffalos to provide additional water within the residences.
Company employees were trapped in a vehicle following the incident. Neither was hurt seriously and both refused immediate medical assistance. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is investigating the incident and have issued a K-Order, shutting down mine site.
MDE staff responded to the site immediately and continues monitoring the location. MDE and MSHA continue to investigate the incident.