The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resource Management has issued its preliminary report for an investigation of the Dec. 4 mining accident at Arch Materials in Jackson Township 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.
ODNR is working in partnership with the Mine Safety and Health Administration to investigate the incident.
According to the preliminary report, the accident happened at 3:15 p.m.
Jonathon Stiver, age 23, and Brennen Boyd, age 20, were working from a PK15002 Palfinger crane lift on a Ford F-750 chassis.
A third worker, Jonathan Kinney, was at the door of the truck.
At the time, the mens’ lift basket floor was positioned four feet from the mine floor.
The two were loading ammonium nitrate/fuel oil (ANFO) – an industrial explosive – into holes drilled by a production drill; they were working on the second row from the floor.
That’s when a rock, measuring approximately five feet long by two-and-a-half feet wide by 11 inches thick, came away from the roof brow – a low place in the roof of a mine – and fell 16 feet, hitting the canopy of the lift.
Kinney then called for help.
The report goes on to say that Mine Foreman Tyler Ogden helped with first aid and removed the men’s’ harnesses.
Stiver and Boyd were later transported outside by company vehicles, and taken from the mine site by the local Emergency Medical Services.
Both were then medevaced from an offsite location to UC Hospital.
Both men suffered back injuries and were listed in stable condition.
Both Stiver and Boyd were described as being up to date on their miner training and were trained to do the work they were conducting at the time of the accident.
The report also reads that the “area was bolted within 3’ of the face and had been scaled. The fallen rock had scale marks on it also. Foreman reports showed no recent adverse roof conditions. Recommendations discussed was making sure proper lighting was available to make visual checks.”
A spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs, also released an update, saying, “The investigation is ongoing. Until the ground conditions are corrected, the affected mine will be posted with a warning against entry. When left unattended, a barrier shall be installed to deny entry into the area.”
Representatives from Arch Materials have declined to comment on the accident.
The company has been mining in Jackson Township for about 10 years.
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 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.