Mine issued 3 citations in week before fatal Knox County collapse

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We’re learning more after the deadly mining incident earlier this week in East Knox County. One miner was killed and two other miners were injured in a mine collapse Tuesday at the Nyrstar Mine in Mascot.

Nyrstar operates a processing plant and three underground zinc mines in East Tennessee: Young, Coy and Immel. The three mines are located in and around Knox and Jefferson counties.

The fatal collapse marked the second fatal incident at the Nyrstar Immel Mine this year. Cody Maggard, a 26-year-old underground chute puller, died on Feb. 22.

The Nyrstar Immel Mine was issued three citations for violating federal regulations in the week leading up to the July 13 collapse. A citation issued one day prior showed a violation of a code requiring telephone or other voice communication be provided between the surface and refuge chambers. The code also requires such systems are independent of the mine power supply.

Another citation was issued on July 8 in relation to a regulation requiring the presence of fire extinguishers or other fire suppression systems near self-propelled equipment:

57.4230 Surface self-propelled equipment.

  1. Whenever a fire or its effects could impede escape from self-propelled equipment, a fire extinguisher shall be on the equipment.
  2. Whenever a fire or its effects would not impede escape from the equipment but could affect the escape of other persons in the area, a fire extinguisher shall be on the equipment or within 100 feet of the equipment.
  3. (b) A fire suppression system may be used as an alternative to fire extinguishers if the system can be manually activated.
  4. (c) Fire extinguishers or fire suppression systems shall be of a type and size that can extinguish fires of any class in their early stages which could originate from the equipment’s inherent fire hazards. Fire extinguishers or manual actuators for the suppression system shall be located to permit their use by persons whose escape could be impeded by fire.

A citation was also issued on July 7 in violation of federal regulation 57.20032. The code requires telephones or other two-way communication equipment with instructions for their use be provided for communication from underground operations to the surface.

A total of 29 citations have been issued for the Immel Mine in 2021. Just down the road from Immel Mine is the Coy Mine in Jefferson City, where 10 citations have been issued in 2021.

Brandon Roski, 35, was killed May 18 at the Young Mine in Jefferson County.

Nyrstar issued a statement of sympathy to the miner’s family and friends on Tuesday. The identity of the miner killed on July 13 has not yet been released.

The company also said it did not know what caused the accident and that safety remains a priority. The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation into the incident.

 This is a developing story. Download the WATE 6 News app for updates sent to your phone.

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