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Senate Confirms Two More Nominees

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Today, the Senate voted to confirm David Zatezalo, by a vote of 52-46, as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. David Zatezalo comes to MSHA from the coal industry, having worked his way up to President and CEO of Rhino Resources before retiring in 2014. This confirmation marks an important step in continuing to full staff the new Administration. As with many of the other Departments and Agencies, the lack of an Assistant Secretary limited MSHA's ability to proactively pursue President Trump's agenda in mine safety and health. IMA-NA is looking forward to working with Assistant Secretary Zatezalo, introducing him to the world of industrial minerals, finding opportunities to promote mine safety and, strengthening the IMA-NA/MSHA Alliance.  

The confirmation of Assistant Secretary Zatezalo is the second recent confirmation. Last Thursday, the Senate confirmed William Wehrun, by a party line vote of 49-47, to be the Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Wehrun is the first EPA Assistant Administrator to make it through the confirmation process. President Trump's nominees for the EPA have been more controversial due to their ties with industry and therefore have been caught up in the confirmation process.  At this point there are 5 nominees for important roles within the EPA that still need to be confirmed. 

• Susan Bodine, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
• Michael Dourson, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
• Matthew Leopold, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of General Counsel
• David Ross, for EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Water
• Andrew Wheeler, for EPA Deputy Administrator

IMA-NA is happy to see the Senate confirm two more important positions within the Administration and continue to urge action on the rest of the nominees.

Tags:  confirmation  Congress  EPA  MSHA  nominee 

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IMA-NA Files Comments on MSHA Examinations Proposal

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

As previously reported, on September 12, 2017, MSHA proposed two changes to its final rule on Examination of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines.  The proposed changes would:


  • Require that an examination of the working place be conducted before work begins or as miners begin work in that place; and

  • Require that the examination record include descriptions of adverse conditions that are not corrected promptly and the dates of corrective action for these conditions.


IMA-NA filed comments yesterday supportive of the two proposals.  IMA-NA also used the comments as an opportunity to encourage MSHA to make further improvements in the examinations rule.  Among the improvements suggested were that MSHA should adopt an audit "safe harbor" policy (similar to OSHA's policy) so that, on historical reports, hazards that were abated would not be the basis for citations under the Mine Act, that MSHA should offer relief from recordkeeping by harmonizing its current policies on examinations records retention and that MSHA should refrain from double-dipping alleged examination violations to address alleged task training deficiencies.


A copy of the comments is attached.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  examinations of working places; proposed rule; fin  MSHA 

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Comments on MSHA Examinations Proposal

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, September 25, 2017

IMA-NA filed comments last week on MSHA’s proposed rule to delay the effective date of its final rule on the examination of working places in metal and nonmetal mines.  Through the proposed rule, MSHA proposes to delay the effective date of its final rule from October 2, 2017, to March 2, 2018.  The extension of time would offer additional time for MSHA to provide stakeholders training and compliance assistance.  Other activities MSHA has committed to undertake include holding informational meetings around the country prior to enforcing the final rule, conducting compliance assistance visits at metal and nonmetal mines, addressing issues raised by stakeholders during quarterly training calls, stakeholder meetings and compliance assistance visits, training its inspectors to help assure consistency in MSHA enforcement, and developing training materials to assist miners and mine operators in effectively implementing the final rule.  IMA-NA supported the delay of the effective date and further supported additional delay of the effective date should such be required for MSHA to achieve its stated goals.

The comments are attached below.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  examinations of working places; MSHA; proposed rul  MSHA 

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David Zatezalo Nominated to Head MSHA

Posted By Mark Ellis, Tuesday, September 5, 2017

On Saturday, President Trump nominated David G. Zatezalo of West Virginia to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.  Prior to his retirement as Chairman of Rhino Resources GP, LLC in late 2014, he had served as President and CEO, and was previously Chief Operating Officer of Rhino as well as President of Hopedale Mining, LLC.  Mr. Zatezalo began his mining career in 1974 with Consolidation Coal Company as a UMWA laborer, became a foreman and subsequently General Superintendent for Southern Ohio Coal Company and General Manager of AEP’s Windsor Coal Company.  He later rose to be Vice-President of Operations of AEP’s Appalachian Mining Operations.  Mr. Zatezalo also worked in Australia for Broken Hill Proprietary, Ltd as a General Mine Manager.  Mr. Zatezalo is a Mining Engineering graduate from West Virginia University where he received the 1977 West Virginia University Student Foundation Merit Award.  He became a Professional Engineer and received an award for high grade on the mining exam in 1981.  He also completed the Masters of Business Administration program at Ohio University in 1994.

IMA-NA looks forward to working with Mr. Zatezalo upon his confirmation and swearing-in.

News on Mr. Zatezalo’s nomination can be accessed by clicking here.

Tags:  David Zatezalo  mine safety  MSHA 

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Effective Date for MSHA’s Final Rule on Examinations

Posted By Mark Ellis, Monday, May 22, 2017

On January 23, 2017, MSHA published a final rule in the Federal Register amending the Agency’s standards for the examination of working places in metal and nonmetal mines.  The final rule was scheduled to become effective on May 23, 2017.  MSHA is delaying the effective date of the final rule from May 23, 2017 to October 2, 2017.  This extension offers additional time for MSHA to provide stakeholders training and compliance assistance.  The extension notice was published in the Federal Register on Monday, May 22, 2017.

To view the final rule on examinations, click here. 

To view the extension notice, click here. 

Tags:  effective date  examinations of working places  final rule  MSHA 

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IMA-NA Expresses Concerns to MSHA on UG Escapeways

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, March 23, 2017

In a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary Patricia Silvey, IMA-NA expressed concerns to MSHA about a purported change in agency enforcement policy related to underground escapeways and refuges.  IMA-NA underground producer members have reported a possible change in agency policy reinterpreting the plain language of 30 CFR §57.11050.  The new interpretation would require two escapeways from every working place, rather than the mine’s lowest levels, and impose new requirements regarding the location of refuge areas.  IMA-NA expressed the concern that such deviation from the plain language of the regulation could constitute rulemaking through policy interpretation rather than through the required notice and comment rulemaking.  IMA-NA requested that the agency convene a meeting of impacted stakeholders to discuss the matter before final agency action is taken.

The IMA-NA letter to MSHA is attached.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  escapeways  MSHA  policy  refuges  regulations 

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Final Rule on Examination of MNM Working Places

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has announced a final rule that amends the Agency’s standards for the examination of working places in metal and nonmetal mines.  The final rule requires: 1) that an examination of the working place be conducted before miners begin working in that place, 2) that operators notify miners in the affected area of any conditions found that may adversely affect their safety or health, 3) that operators promptly initiate corrective action, and 4) that a record be made of the examination.  The final rule also requires that the examination record include: 1) the name of the person conducting the examination, 2) the location of all areas examined, 3) a description of each condition found that may adversely affect the safety or health of miners, and 4) the date of the corrective action.  In addition, the final rule requires that miner operators make the examination record available for inspection by authorized representatives of the Secretary and miners’ representatives and provide a copy upon request.  The final rule will become effective on May 23, 2017.  It is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017.  In the meantime, the 83-page rule can be viewed on the MSHA Website.  To view the final rule, click here.

Tags:  examinations of working places  final rule  metal and nonmetal  MSHA  Regulations 

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National Miners Day - December 6th

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, December 5, 2016

Tomorrow, December 6th, is National Miners Day. Designated by Congress in 2009, December 6th, is marked as a day of commemoration and appreciation for the more than 350,000 miners whose work allows for our modern lifestyles. As IMA-NA members are aware, the mining industry goes largely unrecognized by the wider public for the enormous contributions to the global economy and community.  National Miners Day is a wonderful opportunity in the United States to recognize your workforce and the miners whose hard work underpins so much of our modern world. 

IMA-NA and our staff would like to take the opportunity to extend appreciation and gratitude for our Producer Members and their workforce. Furthermore, we would like to encourage IMA-NA members to share that tomorrow is National Miners Day with their employees, post to social media, or simply highlight your contributions to your community throughout the day tomorrow.

Click here to connect to the Facebook National Miners Day page.

Click here to read NIOSH's salute to Miners.

Click here to read MSHA's background on the day.

Tags:  education  facebook  msha  national miners day  NIOSH  outreach  social media 

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MSHA Alliance - Structural Failure Alert is the Focus in November

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

As part of IMA-NA's ongoing MSHA Alliance, MSHA just published IMA-NA's Structural Failure Alert as their Safety Hazard Alert for November. The MSHA Alliance is an opportunity for industry to collaborate with MSHA to highlight proactive measures that can be implemented or taken to improve safety conditions at facilities across the entire mining industry. The Structural Failure Alert is the result of a presentation from IMA-NA's Operations & Engineering Committee during our Annual Meeting. To further underscore MSHA's appreciation for IMA-NA members' proactive approach to Safety & Health Assistant Secretary of MSHA Joe Main had intended to present the alert at the Kaolin Minerals Day event. Unfortunately, Mr. Main fell ill and was unable to offer his remarks on the alert to the group in October. However, IMA-NA is thrilled to announce the latest MSHA Alert and sees it as a reflection of our industry's positive impact on the culture of safety and health in the industrial minerals sector. 


To download the Structural Failure Alert click here

Tags:  alert  msha  MSHA Alliance  operations and engineering  safety  safety and health  structural safety 

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North American Minerals Days 2016 This Week

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This week marks the 2nd Annual North American Minerals Days, a continuation of IMA-NA's partnership with IMA-Europe to broaden awareness of industrial minerals, the industry, and the role our members play in creating and supporting our modern lifestyles. This year, in addition to continuing to partner and support the efforts of Earth Science Week, Kaolin Festival, and the Georgia Marble Festival, IMA-NA members are hosting a variety of events.  

Tomorrow, October 12th, KaMin and Imerys will be hosting an all day event highlighting the Kaolin industry and their culture of safety. We'll be welcoming Assistant Secretary of MSHA, Joe Main, to tour a mine and participate in a Safety luncheon with EHS representatives from across the state of Georgia. In addition to Joe Main, Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10) and representatives from the state and local governments will be participating in the activities. The Kaolin event is also being supported by Georgia Mining Association and promises to provide an excellent opportunity for IMA-NA members to interact with their legislators and regulators.

Across the country, in Nevada, Tronox will be hosting Congressman Joe Heck for a tour and discussion. Tronox's event is demonstrative of the type of relationship building opportunities presented during election years. Continuing to tell the story of the positive economic and community impacts of your businesses is especially important at the district and state level, where legislators can interact with your employees and their constituents. 

We're pleased by the expansion of the Minerals Days and believe any opportunity to educate individuals, both in government and in our communities, about our industry is productive in continuing to tell the story about the importance of mining in North America. 

Tags:  community  education  Joe Main  Legislators  MSHA  North American Minerals Days  outreach  Regulators 

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