TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - International Coal Group is idling the Sago 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.
From July to the end of 2006, the number of underground miners at Sago had been cut from 90 to 44. Gamm says the Scott Depot-based mining company has offered the remaining workers jobs elsewhere.
The Upshur County mine was the site of a January Second, 2006, methane explosion that led to the deaths of 12 miners. 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 company idled several mines in September. I-C-G also has cut back plans for developing new mines in recent months.