US mining industry opposes premature House safety measure

International Mining’s December issue will feature safety as one focus, looking at what has been achieved in the US, advances in virtual training and its safety benefits and very important advances in communications to and from underground. National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz made the following statement summarizing the mining industry’s opposition to the supplemental mine safety legislation approved on October 31 by the House Education and Labor Committee.

"The U.S. mining industry is making substantial progress in implementing the comprehensive new mine safety law, the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act, which Congress passed last year with overwhelming bipartisan support. Complying with this new law is challenging for mine operators, equipment and technology suppliers and regulators. For this reason, the mining industry opposes legislation passed today by the House Education and Labor Committee that would impose additional requirements, including some that would overturn regulatory processes that are required by the MINER Act, before the industry has had an opportunity to implement the current law and its effectiveness is assessed.

"Our reservations with this supplemental bill are shared by mine safety professionals and mine engineering academics. This bill is far more likely to impede rather than improve our on-going efforts to enhance mine safety. The US mining industry is determined to advance mine safety as its highest priority. But this legislation will make that goal more difficult to achieve by impeding our efforts to implement current law and the recommendations of the independent Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission, which NMA established in 2006."