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Crandall Canyon Mine operator agrees to pay $500,000 in fines

Sun Advocate associate editor

Genwal Resources, Inc., operator of the Crandall Canyon Mine where nine coal miners were killed August 2007, has agreed to plead guilty and pay $500,000 in fines for two federal criminal misdemeanor charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah.

Neither charge was directly connected to the implosions that killed six miners on Aug. 6 or three rescuers on Aug. 16.

The first count filed in Federal District Court charged that Genwal did not report a "coal outburst" in March 2007 within the time required by law. That law requires mine closures and evacuations lasting more than one hour to be reported within 15 minutes. The company did report to the Mine Safety and Health Administration the next business day, according to a statement issued by Genwal attorneys at Fabian & Clendenin in Salt Lake.

The second count was that Genwal revised a mining plan in June 2007 and then mined in a prohibited area on Aug. 3.

While the company agreed to plead guilty to the charges, it declared in its prepared statement, "Significantly, the agreement reflects the lack of evidence that any conduct by the Company caused the accidents of August 6 or 16, 2007."

The U.S. Attorney's Office stated that it filed only the charges that it could prove beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence available after three years of investigation.

See Tuesday's Emery County Progress for further details.

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