Company declines to comment
State and federal agencies investigating
By Megan Alley
There was a mining accident at Arch Materials in Jackson Township on Dec. 4 that injured two workers underground when rock debris fell on their safety cage.
The accident happened at the Arch Materials limestone mine located at 4438 state Route 276.
According to a 911 call obtained by The Sun, the Arch Materials employee who phoned in the emergency described the accidents as taking place underground.
“I was told two guys got hurt. I don’t know how or what’s going on just yet,” the employee can be heard saying. “It sounds like they’re pinned in a basket … not everyone knows all the information yet.”
Representatives from Arch Materials declined to comment on the accident.
The company has been mining in Jackson Township for about 10 years.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resource Management, in partnership with the Mine Safety and Health Administration, is investigating the incident.
It could take several months for a report to be released, according to Laura McGinnis, a representative in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs.
ODNR released a statement, sent by Eric Heis, a department spokesperson, on Dec. 5 about the accident that said, “We know that two workers sustained non-life threatening injuries after rock debris fell on their safety cage.”
In April, the Batavia Township Trustees unanimously approved a zone map amendment that allows for the expansion of Arch Materials’ limestone mining operations to expand into the township.
Some 78.5 acres of property on the north side of state Route 276, east of Harold Road, had been zoned as an agricultural district, but at the request of Arch Materials, the trustees amended the zoning to planned development to make way for underground limestone mining and farming on the surface.
“It’s moving into Batavia Township, where there is no mining now,” Jonathan Wocher, Batavia Township’s zoning consultant, explained during the April 8 meeting.
The Clermont County Planning Commission recommended the zone map amendment, and no comments were received from the Ohio Department of Transportation, the County Engineer’s Office or the Water Resources Department, according to the township’s staff report.
Arch Materials is leasing the land from owner Roger Maham of NAE, LLC.
Representatives from Arch Materials said that mining activity will take place about 1,000 feet below the surface.
They further explained that the mining company blasts and mines out about 2/3 of the sought after material, and leaves the remaining 1/3 to serve as pillars, to hold up the subterranean ground.
The pillars are to remain in place after the area has been mined.
The mining company does not propose any structures, access or surface level mining, according to the staff report, which states that mining access will remain from the Jackson Township facility.
Farming is set to continue on the property.
The mining company plans to mine the limestone in Batavia Township for construction aggregate.
Mining in Batavia Township is expected to start in about 10 years.
Before Arch Materials can actually begin working there, they will need to supply Batavia Township with additional information, including an emergency response plan and pre-blast surveys.