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Alpha Natural Resources establishes foundation to improve mine health and safety

World Coal,

Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), a leading US coal producer, has announced the establishment of the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health Inc. The Alpha Foundation is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to improve mine health and safety through funding projects by qualified academic institutions, not-for-profit entities and individuals associated with those entities. ANR will contribute a total of US$ 48 million to the foundation.

Alpha Natural Resources has also appointed three directors to administer the foundation: Dr Michael Karmis, Dr David Wegman and Dr Keith Heasley. The three directors are highly-qualified experts in mine health and safety and come from diverse professional and academic backgrounds. The Alpha Foundation plans to host a kick-off meeting this summer where the directors will discuss funding priorities.

Kevin Crutchfield, CEO of ANR, said: “The safety of our employees is the highest value of our company, and mine safety and health is imperative to the success of our industry. We are proud to establish and fund the Alpha Foundation and also appoint three leading experts to advance its objectives. This presents a tremendous opportunity to drive the latest developments and innovation in mine safety and health to the benefit of miners around the world.”

The Alpha Foundation was established pursuant to the company’s Non-Prosecution Agreement with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia (USAO SDWV) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ), entered into on 6 December 2011. The directors were appointed with the approval of the USAO SDWV.

Directors of the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health

Dr Karmis is the Stonie Barker Professor of the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering and the Director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) at Virginia Tech. He is an expert in the areas of rock mechanics and ground control, mining systems, and the sustainable development of energy and mineral resources.

Dr Wegman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Adjunct Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His epidemiologic research includes the study of acute and chronic occupational respiratory disease, occupational cancer risk and occupational musculoskeletal disorders, with special interests in the study of subjective outcomes as early indicators of health effects and in surveillance of occupational conditions and risks.

Dr Heasley is a professor in the Department of Mining Engineering at West Virginia University, and is a licensed professional engineer and a registered professional engineer in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  His primary research interests are numerical modeling in rock mechanics, computer applications in mining, and multiple-seam mine design and ground control.

Edited from press release by Lauren Bryant

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