Deadly Mine Collapse Draws Record Fine

Weak pillars, dangerous areas linked to Utah deaths
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 25, 2008 6:21 AM CDT
Top mining official Richard Stickler, second left, meets with families of dead miners after presenting the findings of the Crandall Canyon mine collapse Thursday, July 24, 2008, in Price, Utah.    (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
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(Newser) – The federal government has socked a Utah mine operator and its consultant with the highest fine ever—$1.85 million—for safety violations in a mine collapse that killed six men last year. Investigators said weak pillar support and work in dangerous areas of the Crandell Canyon mine led to the disaster. The mine operator was charged $1.34 million “for violations that directly contributed to the deaths,” as well as $300,000 in other penalties.

A consulting company was fined $220,000 for "faulty analysis" of the mine's design. The mine owner had maintained that seismic activity, not safety violations, was the culprit in the collapse, but probers found otherwise. “It was not a natural occurring earthquake,” said the leading US mining official. Three rescuers were also killed in the mine soon after the first collapse.