ICG Idles Sago Mine Due To High Costs, Low Coal Prices

TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - The brother of a miner killed in the
Sago explosion says the mine's closure is an acknowledgment that
the Upshur County mine was dangerous even before the accident.
International Coal Group announced today that it has idled the
mine due to high production costs and weak coal prices.
Spokesman Ira Gamm describes the shutdown as purely a business
decision. He says no other factors were involved.
But John Groves, whose brother Jerry died in the January 2006
blast, says I-C-G tried to make the mine work despite problems --
at the cost of 12 men's lives.
The accident was the highest-profile coal mining accident in
recent U-S history and led to sweeping changes in federal and state
mine safety laws.
Separate investigations by both the state and I-C-G concluded
that lightning caused the blast, but the United Mine Workers blames
mine roof friction.
Gamm emphasized that I-C-G is not closing Sago permanently. The
Scott-Depot company idled several mines in September. I-C-G also
has cut back plans for developing new mines in recent months.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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