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CDC to develop mine research facility in West Virginia

Photo: krblokhin/iStockphoto

Washington — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acquired a site in Mace, WV, that will house a facility supporting research programs focused on miner safety and health.

The 465-acre site will be home to the NIOSH Underground Mine Safety and Health Research Laboratory. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed within three years.

“The mission of the NIOSH Mining Program is to eliminate mining fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through relevant research and impactful solutions,” NIOSH Director John Howard said in a press release. “The new facility will allow NIOSH to once again conduct full-scale mine explosion studies, support research on various topics such as refuge alternatives and fire suppression, and address other issues critical to the safety and health of mine workers.”

The facility will replace the former Lake Lynn laboratory on the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border, which featured an underground experimental mine and aboveground fire-testing facility, according to a press release issued by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who supports the project. The release adds that NIOSH was forced to vacate the site in 2012 and “has been searching for a replacement location since.”

In another release, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said the development is “great news for our state” and will “create an opportunity to conduct critical research and oversight that moves the mining industry forward and keeps our coal miners safe.”

Added Cecil Roberts, president of United Mine Workers of America: “Coal mine health and safety is achieved at many levels. This facility will save lives and provide both the industry and miners with the knowledge needed to ensure miners return home safely every day.”

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