1908 ANNUAL REPORT
STATE COAL MINE INSPECTORS
STATE COAL MINE INSPECTORS
During the past year the coal resources of the State of Wyoming have been very extensively explored and developed in spite of the financial depression and the temporary reduction in the output of the state. No less than thirteen new producing mines have been opened, increasing the number of coal mines in the state from thirty-nine to fifty-two, or thirty-three and a third per cent. Eight of these mines were opened in District No. 1, or the southern district, and five in District No. 2, or the northern district. It is safe to predict that during the year 1909 no less than six additional collieries will open for the shipment of coal.
The tonnage produced during the past year has showed a decided falling off due in the main to the general depression in business throughout the country, but at the close of the fiscal year, September 30th, the production was rapidly reaching normal conditions. It is confidently expected that in 1909, with a resumption of business activity, and the new collieries opened up, all previous records in coal production will be surpassed in Wyoming.
Mine inspections throughout the year have been made as regularly and frequently as the limited resources of the department would permit. Many recommendations, both oral and written, were given and nearly always complied with. Precautionary measures for the protection and health of the employee have been adopted at many mines, some voluntarily and others by request. There is still too much laxity in carrying out the provisions of the state laws regulating the operation of coal mines. Especially in such matters as the construction of stone stopping, maintenance of fire bosses, etc. These matters are now receiving the earnest attention of the inspectors and within another year every mine in the state will be provided with stone stopping, thus eliminating a great element of danger and the possibility, to a great extent, of the occurrence of extensive disasters.
Many mine owners, with the welfare of their employees in view, go even further than the law requires, and adopt measures for the protection of the miners not provided in the statutes.
In 1908 the rate of fatal accidents was very high in comparison with the average of former years on account of the terrible disaster in Hanna Mine No. 1. Over two-thirds of the accidents, aside from the loss of life at Hanna, were caused by falling rock and coal, which in many instances could have been avoided by proper timbering. It is with regret that we state that in practically all such cases the investigation showed that a suitable supply of timber or props was at hand, and that often instructions had been given by the mine boss to the miner, just prior to the accident, to timber his place, and compliance promised, but postponed until too late.
The laws governing coal mining in Wyoming are very incomplete, yet the march of progress forces compliance to many requirements in keeping with the most advanced methods of mining that are not demanded by our statute. Especially is this true in reference to ventilation which is receiving careful attention by all intelligent operators, and many beneficial improvements have been made along this line.
We desire to thank the mine officials for the courtesy extended to us, and readiness with which in most cases they complied with our recommendations for improvements. We have also to thank them for much information and aid given us in obtaining data for this report, although in some instances they are negligent in this regard and it is with difficulty information is obtained regarding the number of miners employed, the output, etc.
We submit this report with the regret that we could not make it more complete. But with the limited resources of the department, the large number of fatal accidents, a total of fifty-two mines to inspect, little time is left for careful research or the compiling of statistics.
OFFICE STATE COAL MINE INSPECTOR DISTRICT No. 1
Diamondville, Wyo. September 20th, 1908
To the Honorable
Bryant B. Brooks
Governor of Wyoming.
SIR: I have the honor to submit my report from April 11th, the date of my appointment, to the close of the fiscal year, ending September 30th, 1908.
During the past year the production of coal in Wyoming, or that portion of it included in District No. 1, has been smaller than it has been for several years. Quite a number of mines were not in operation either a whole or part of the time, which materially reduced the tonnage produced. Practically all of these mines have resumed operations since the close of the fiscal year ending September 30th.
NEW MINES OPENED
During the past year eight new mines have been opened in this district. The Sublette mine is located eleven miles north of Kemmerer. It was opened by the Kemmerer Coal Company and is now employing approximately ninety-five men in and around the workings. A five and a half foot vein of coal has been opened up and this will become one of the regularly producing mines of the state.
The Willow Creek mine is about seven miles north of Kemmerer. Tracks were laid up to the mine a year ago but coal shipments did not commence until late this year. This mine employs about thirty men, has a five foot coal vein and will be another regular producer.
The Elk Coal Company has opened up the Elk mine about four miles west of Glencoe in Uinta County. This company has here a 51-foot vein of fine lignite coal. The production of coal did not commence until about November 1st. Approximately forty men are now at work. This should be one of the big mines of the state in the future.
The Evanston Coal Company has opened up a colliery at Almy, utilizing the old workings of No. 4 mine at Almy, and is now working about thirty-five men.
The Rock Springs Wyoming Coal Company has opened up a large colliery at Point of Rocks in Sweetwater County. It is now employing about forty men and has two veins of coal, four feet and a half and six feet respectfully, in thickness.
The Rock Springs and Gibralta Coal Mining Company have also opened up two veins, four and a half and six feet in thickness, at Black Buttes in Sweetwater County and are employing a force of about seventy men.
About eight miles north of Rock Springs, in Sweetwater County, Gunn and Quealey have opened up the Gunn mine on two coal veins, four and a half and six feet in thickness. About seventy men are employed.
The Sampo mine was also opened up on an eight-foot vein four miles north east of Hanna in Carbon County, by the Sampo Coal Company. About twenty men are employed.
In some of the mines of this district they have good fans for the purpose of ventilating the mines, but I regret to report that in some cases, while they have good currents of air passing along the entries, the miners were found to be working at the face of the rooms with not enough air to breathe and in some instances I could not see them on account of the powder smoke until I came in close proximity to them. In some cases cross-cuts were driven on the room pillars as far as one hundred and fifty feet apart, and then a new cross-cut was driven. The old one or back cross-cut was not filled up so as to take the air to the face of the room where the men were at work, and in some cases not a screen or canvas or even a piece of brattice cloth was used to turn the air off the main entry or to drive it up to the room.
Upon investigation I found that in many cases this condition was due to the fault of the mine foreman, as I observed that in some mines the ventilation was attended to and the air carried around to the working miners, while in other mines owned by the same company this important detail was grossly neglected.
ACCIDENTS IN COAL MINES
Since the first of October, 1907, there have been seventy-nine fatal and sixty-five non-fatal accidents in the collieries of District No. 1. The death rate shows a big gain over preceding year on account of the great loss of life in the Hanna explosion. Aside from this disaster the fatal accidents were less than during the preceding year and the non-fatal accidents also showed a decrease in number. Aside from the Hanna disaster, fully two thirds of the accidents were caused through the carelessness of the miners, this being more especially true of foreigners. I have repeatedly urged the coal miners to use props in their rooms while mining and have insisted on the bosses enforcing this rule, by which a large number of accidents can be avoided.
THE HANNA DISASTER
One of the most disastrous mine accidents in the history of the state occurred at Hanna on March 28th, 1908, when an explosion occurred in No. 1 mine, entailing the loss of fifty-nine lives. The exact cause of this explosion is not known. The evidence adduced, however, shows the following facts in connection with the affair.
On the 20th of March, eight days before the explosion, John Burton and Wm. Bailey were working in No. 10 entry. They fired a shot about 11 P.M. which set fire to the coal. They tried to secure water with which to extinguish the flames but were unable to do so, as the pipeline was out of order. They then attempted to extinguish the fire by spreading the burning coal out over the floor of the entry. They believed they had the fire out and later started out of the mine. On their way out along the entry they met Fire Boss John Evans and informed him of what had happened. Evans investigated and later told Burton and Bailey that the fire was out.
On the evening of Saturday, the 21st, John Evans, in making his rounds, discovered fire in the same entry. He reported to the mine foreman, Burton. By this time the fire had gained such headway that it was found necessary to stop it off. The stoppings were built just inside the first slant of the entry. These stoppings were built of boards. After letting the entry remain in this condition for about five days Superintendent Briggs and Foreman Burton, with others, began operations on Thursday, when the mine was idle, to open up the entry. They broke the stopping, advanced about 200 feet and then erected another stopping, postponing further operations until another idle day.
On Saturday, March 28th, Superintendent Briggs and seventeen others, including the fire bosses, gas watchmen, etc. entered the mine for the purpose of opening up the entry and, if possible to gain control of the fire. The explosion occurred about 3 o’clock and it will never be known just what circumstance or combination of circumstances brought it about. The timbers in the slope and manway were blown out, causing both entrances to cave in. Safety lamps were procured and a number of men volunteered to go down the east slope (which was not materially damaged) as a rescuing party. Materials were rushed to the east entry for this purpose of blocking up the cross cuts entries, etc. to enable the rescuing party to proceed down to No. 10 entry.
About 4 o’clock David M. Elias, inspector for this district, arrived, went to the east slope and took charge of the rescue work. The bodies of Robert Warburton, Peter Munson and Ben Parry were found on the slope at No. 10 entry and were brought to the surface by the rescuing party.
About 10:30 o’clock P.M. a second explosion occurred wrecking the east entrance, after which no more work was done. Forty-one men were in the mine at the time of the second explosion and all were killed. On March 29th all entrances to the mine were sealed up.
On April 11th, 1908, I received my appointment as inspector to succeed Mr. Elias, who lost his life in the second explosion. Under instructions from Your Excellency, in company with Inspector Noah Young of District No. 2, I went to Hanna to investigate the disaster. The results of this investigation were given in the following reports submitted to Your Excellency under date of April 17th and May 14th.
On April 17th, I made my first official visit to Hanna mine No. 1, the property of the Union Pacific Coal Company.
In company with Noah Young, inspector for District No. 2 of the State of Wyoming, General Superintendent George L. Black, and Superintendent Thomas H. Butler, I visited the west slope which was caved and sealed as a result of the explosion of March 28, 1908.
At the east opening the slope is stopped and the fan shaft closed. On investigation I found fire damp leaking at both stoppings, as the safety lamp shows the presence of light carbureted hydrogen. In addition, tests made at a standpipe also showed the presence of explosive gases.
I would recommend that great care be exercised in the breaking of the stoppings as the mine is still in a very dangerous condition. There should be no undue haste in the opening of this mine and it should be given plenty of time to cool and, if possible, to damp the fires which are burning inside.
There seems to be no suffering for the necessities of life among the families of the unfortunate men who lost their lives in the explosion. The company store, operated by the Union Pacific Coal Company, is open to the needs of the widows and orphans, and very liberal contributions are coming in from the different locales of the United Mine Workers of America, and the generous and sympathetic people of this and neighboring states.
Inspector Dist., No. 1
On May 14th, 1908, I made my second official visit to Hanna Mine No. 1, the property of the Union Pacific Coal Company.
The east side stopping is being carefully watched night and day, and any leaks occurring are reported and immediately repaired. Record is being kept of barometer and thermometer readings, which are being made regularly every three hours.
An examination of the test hole with a safety lamp still shows the presence of fire damp. The west side of the mine is caved and closed.
Inspector Dist. No. 1.
On June 24th, at the request of A. E. Bradbury, General Manager of the Union Pacific Coal Company, I went to Hanna to attend a conference called for the purpose of devising plans for the re-opening of the mine. This conference was also attended by Inspector Young, superintendents of the Coal Company, and members of the miners union. A committee was appointed for the purpose of formulating plans for the re-opening of the mine to the first cross-cut and in accordance with this plan proposed by the committee, on July 10th, we broke the STOPPING at the east entrance to the slope.
Immediately below the stopping we encountered a very large cave-in about sixty feet in length. On July 11th this cave was passed over and the body of R. W. Armstrong was found in the cross cut leading from the slope to the air course and about midway between the two. Stoppings were built in the first north cross cut, the main slope and the return air course before the cave was cleaned through. I left for home on the 12th and returned on the 20th by which time the party had reached the No. 2 entry. On July 16th the bodies of thirteen miners were found on the slope above the switch and No. 2 top entry. On July 18th smoke was encountered at No. 1 top entry and on the 20th the mine was again sealed up on account of the presence of gas and smoke.
On August 12th General Manager A. M. Bradbury notified me that the mine was again to be opened and the next morning I reached Hanna. After the stoppings were broken through, three bodies were found on No. 1 top entry between the slope and the manway. The work of building stoppings in the entries and cross cuts went on and went down until every entry and cross-cut on both sides of the slope and air-courses were stopped off. On August 16th four more bodies were found on the slope between No. 4 top and back entries. Another body was found on the slope about 25 feet below No. 4 back entry and another on No. 4 back entry 35 feet from the slope.
On August 18th two bodies were recovered from No. 6 top entry and on the 21st a third body was found on the slope at the second cross cut to the manway below No. 6 entry. It was on this date that water was encountered 320 feet below the No. 8 top entry. The next day the body of John Cook was found on the slope opposite the second cross cut leading to the manway below No. 6 entry. Since then no further work or rescue has been undertaken. From July 10th, when the first opening occurred, until August 22nd, twenty-seven bodies were taken out, and it is believed that are twenty-seven more bodies in the mine. It is possible these will never be recovered as the water is rising at the rate of four feet per day in the mine.
On September 16th I received word from H. K. Bennett, Coroner of Carbon County that the inquest was to take place. I started to meet the train that night but at Diamondville learned of a serious fire raging in No. 1 mine and was compelled to remain. The inquest began on the 17th, the coroner’s jury being composed of Grant Routt, Arson Clavel and E. A. Wallace. Ten witnesses were examined and while much testimony regarding the management and operation of the mine was adduced, all of the witnesses who could give direct testimony had been killed in the disaster. The verdict of the jury was as follows:
STATE OF WYOMING)
COUNTY OF CARBON)
Holden at Hanna, In Carbon County, on the 17th day of September, A. D., 1908, before me, H. K. Bennett, Coroner of said county, upon the bodies of fifty-nine as per list attached, lying dead, by the jurors whole names are hereby subscribed, the said jurors upon their oath do say that under the conditions all the direct testimony was killed in the explosion and from evidence produced before us we find that they all came to their deaths in Hanna Mine No. One on the 28th day of March, 1908, by an explosion of gas or other combustibles.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, the said jurors have hereunto set their hands the day and year aforesaid.
(Signed) Grant Routt
E. A. Wallace.
I herein certify that this is a true and correct copy of the verdict of the coroner’s jury at Hanna on September 17th, 1908.
(Signed) H. K. Bennett,
While all regret the tragic end of the miners and officials who lost their lives in the Hanna mine it is undoubtedly true that the disaster, taking such a frightful toll of human life, has resulted in renewed activity on the part of mine owners and men alike looking to the protection and safe-guarding of life and property in the collieries of the state. More rigid rules have been adopted and precautionary measures taken which cannot but prove beneficial in the future. In this regard I desire to offer a number of recommendations, which as they apply to all of the mines of the state, will be incorporated with those of Inspector Young.
I close my report with the following tables showing the mines in operation in District No. 1, the number of men employed and tonnage produced as compared with the output of 1907. This, as will be seen, shows a falling off of 655,953 tons, although several new mines opened up this year have as yet made no report which will somewhat reduce the shortage. There was also a material reduction in the force of men employed during the year but as this report is being compiled, the complement of miners is rapidly reaching the normal number, and it is expected next year more miners will be employed and a heavier tonnage produced than ever before in the history of the state.
Inspector Dist. No. 1
LIST OF WYOMING MINES
District No. 1.
NAME OF MINE OWNER SUPERINTENDENT ADDRESS
Rock Springs No. 1 Union Pacific Coal Co. George L. Black Rock Springs
Rock Springs No. 7 Union Pacific Coal Co. George L. Black Rock Springs
Rock Springs No. 8 Union Pacific Coal Co. George L. Black Rock Springs
Rock Springs No. 9 Union Pacific Coal Co. George L. Black Rock Springs
Rock Springs No. 10 Union Pacific Coal Co. George L. Black Rock Springs
Sweetwater No. 1 Central Coal and C. Co. F. Miller Rock Springs
Wyoming Coal Co. Wyoming Coal Co. P. C. Kittle Rock Springs
Point of Rocks R. S. Wyo. Coal Co. Andrew Bugas Point of Rocks
Black Buttes R. S. Gibralta Coal Co. A. W. Havela Black Buttes
Diamondville No. 1 Diamondville C.& C. Co. Thomas Sneddon Diamondville
Oakley No. 2 Diamondville C.& C. Co. Thomas Sneddon Diamondville
Glencoe No. 4 Diamondville C.& C. Co. Thomas Sneddon Diamondville
Frontier No. 1 Kemmerer Coal Co. P. J. Quealey Kemmerer
Frontier No. 2 Kemmerer Coal Co. P. J. Quealey Kemmerer
Willow Creek Kemmerer Coal Co. P. J. Quealey Kemmerer
Sublett Kemmerer Coal Co. P. J. Quealey Kemmerer
Almy No. 4 Evanston Coal Co. D. C. Thomas Evanston
Almy Nos. 5-6-8 Rocky Mt. Coal & Iron Co. J. H. Martin Evanston
Superior A. Superior Coal Co. Frank A. Manly Superior
Superior B. Superior Coal Co. Frank A. Manly Superior
Superior C. Superior Coal Co. Frank A. Manly Superior
Superior D. Superior Coal Co. Frank A. Manly Superior
Cumberland No. 1 Union Pacific Coal Co. F. L. McCarty Cumberland
Cumberland No. 2 Union Pacific Coal Co. F. L. McCarty Cumberland
Cumberland No. 3 Union Pacific Coal Co. F. L. McCarty Cumberland
Gunn Gunn, Quealey & Co. H. E. Lewis Gunn
Elks Elk Coal Co. James Broans Diamondville
Hanna No. 1 Union Pacific Coal Co. T. H. Butler Hanna
Hanna No. 2 Union Pacific Coal Co. T. H. Butler Hanna
Hanna No. 3 Union Pacific Coal Co. T. H. Butler Hanna
Sampo Sampo Coal Co. Joseph Pesola Hanna
Rawling No. 1 Nebraska Coal Co. Rawlins
COAL PRODUCTION OF WYOMING
District No. 1
MINE OUTPUT IN TONS OUTPUT IN TONS MEN EMPLOYED
1907 1908 1908
Rock Springs No. 1 353,759 246,382 278
Rock Springs No. 7 296,687 191,223 300
Rock Springs No. 8 315,368 279,127 265
Rock Springs No. 9 281,133 230,466 253
Rock Springs No. 10 320,487 264,658 240
Sweetwater No. 1 192,276 158,557 207
Rock Springs No. 2 142,623 157,592 200
Wyoming Coal Co. 4,459 58,029 92
Point of Rocks Not opened 5,482 36
Black Buttes Not opened 14,390 60
Diamondville No. 1 144,195 139,413 204
Oakley No. 2 150,191 149,735 168
Glenco No. 4 328,107 183,043 175
Frontier No. 1 357,383 216,271 354
Frontier No. 3 109,953 No report
Almy Nos. 5-6 & 8 48,505 26,728 40
Superior A 92,416 158,703 260
Superior B 2,842 56,947 103
Superior C 46,525 155,129 215
Superior D 5,025 44,431 92
Cumberland No. 1 469,805 298,502 220
Cumberland No. 2 119,468 270,628 315
Cumberland No. 3 260,845 61,495 130
Hanna No. 1 258,655 123,370 410
Hanna No. 2 255,057 283,964 303
Hanna No. 3 9,094 124,640 195
Totals 4,564,858 3,989,905 5,185
OFFICE STATE COAL MINE INSPECTOR DISTRICT NO. 2
Glenrock, Wyoming, September 30th, 1908.
To His Excellency
Bryant B. Brooks,
Governor of Wyoming
I have the honor to submit my report for the fiscal year ending September 30th, 1908.
Inspector Dist. No. 2
It is with gratification that I am able to report to your Excellency that during the fiscal year just ended, the number of fatal accidents in Inspection District No. 2 showed no increase and the number of non-fatal accidents was reduced to the minimum—none. In this district but two employees lost their lives during the twelve months ending September 30th, 1908, and no non-fatal accidents were reported. In 1907 there were two fatal accidents and five of a non-fatal character.
I am convinced that this reduction is due to the precautionary measures which are being adopted more extensively every year in coal mines, measures tending to safe guard the lives of the men as well as the property of the owners.
It is also important to point out that in both of the fatal accidents which occurred, the men lost their lives through the result of their own carelessness and not through defective machinery or other causes which could be eliminated.
Throughout this district the latest and most improved methods are being adopted in mining and the owners are coming to recognize more and more that the interests of the mine owner and employee are identical. Disasters result not alone in the loss of human life but in the destruction of property and large sums are being expended to render the collieries safer and to prevent, as far as possible within the limits of human knowledge, the occurrence of accidents. Everywhere in this district, abandoned entries are being walled off with stone stoppings, thus doing away almost entirely with the possibility of explosions through fires in these entries, and several of the mines have even opened up private stone quarries for this purpose. Your Inspector is insisting on conformity with this provision of our laws which effects one of the most vital elements of danger in coal mining.
Following is a list of the fatal accidents in this district, showing that both were occasioned by the carelessness of the employees or through disobedience of orders:
Costa Traikoff: -Was killed on February 8th in Antelope Mine No. 2 at Cambria. Traikoff had loaded a shot and lighted the fuse and gone to a place of safety. After waiting what he supposed was sufficient time, he returned, thinking something wrong, arriving at the place where the shot was located just as it exploded. He sustained injuries from which he died a few hours later.
Richard Atnip:-Atnip was killed in No. 5 mine at Deitz on December 3rd, 1907. He went to a room to work with a miner whose partner was reported to be absent. He found two men in the room and went out to look for the pit boss. He got out as far as the main entry and sat down. An empty trip coming down the slope was derailed and Atnip was crushed to death. The investigation showed that Atnip had been warned not to stay in the main entry but to go up the manway.
The output of coal in District No. 2 during the fiscal year showed a material falling off, this being due to the financial troubles which affected all branches of industry throughout the country.
The number of tons produced by the various mines in the district was 1,527,424 as against 1,653,920 tons in 1907 and 1,298,315 in 1906. With the new mines opened up the normal production this year would have reached fully 2,500,000 tons, as the collieries were in operation during the fiscal year only about one third of the time. A table is submitted herewith showing the coal production by mines in 1907 and 1908 and the number of men employed during the present year.
NEW MINES OPENED
During the year no less than five new mines were opened in District No. 2, which will add materially to the coal production in the state in the future and give employment to several hundred men.
One of the most important mining camps opened up during the past year is located about three miles south of Kirby, in Big Horn County. It is known as the Gebo mine and is owned by the Owl Creek Coal Company. They have opened up a twelve-foot vein of coal, have installed one of the most up-to-date mining plants, and will be one of the most modern and best equipped camps in the state. About 200 men are now employed and a daily output of 500 tons attained. All of the mine buildings are being constructed of stone, and fifty miners’ cottages are being erected. A modern lighting plant has been installed, stone stoppings are being built, and every precaution is being taken to make this mine safe for the employees. The company announces that it expects soon to increase the production to 1,000 tons a day.
Another important coal camp has been established at Kooi, about eight miles west of Sheridan in Sheridan County. This company has also constructed a modern and up-to-date plant in every way and is opening up a vein of coal from 16 to 22 feet in thickness. About 85 men are employed and the mine is now producing about 500 tons of an excellent quality of lignite coal a day. A fine water supply is provided by pumping from the Tongue River, a distance of 3,000 feet, and the camp has been made sanitary in every way. The buildings are substantial, the machinery modern in every way, and the construction of an electric lighting system has been commenced. This will be one of the important coal producers of the state.
The Kirby Coal Company has opened up the Crosby Mine at Crosby, Big Horn County, about one and a half miles from the Gebo mine, on an eight-foot vein of coal. About thirty men are now employed and development work is being pushed forward rapidly, so that the employment in the near future of over 100 men is expected. About 150 tons a day is now being produced.
The Hudson Coal Company has completed the work of opening up its mine at Hudson, in Fremont County, on the Northwestern Railway, and is now producing between 500 and 600 tons a day. The company has an eight-foot vein and is producing a first class lignite coal. This will be one of the important coal camps of central Wyoming.
George White and James Martin have opened up a new mine about one mile from Hudson on a six-foot vein of coal. The production of coal at present is small, but with railroad facilities, which will soon be available, the tonnage will be greatly increased. The coal is similar to that produced at Hudson.
The work of opening up a new mine by the Lockett Coal Company one and a half miles east of Muddy in Converse County is now in progress and next year this will become a producing mine. The company has a vein six feet in thickness of fine lignite coal and is installing modern machinery and mine buildings.
I will conclude my report with tables showing the producing coal mines in District No. 1., the tonnage produced, the men employed, etc. My recommendations will be included with those made jointly by Inspector Bird and myself at the conclusion of this report.
Inspector, District No. 2.
LIST OF WYOMING MINES
DISTRICT NO. 2
NAME OF MINE OWNER SUPERINTENDENT ADDRESS
Sheridan No. 2 Sheridan Coal Co. James Gridley Dietz
Sheridan No. 3 Sheridan Coal Co. James Gridley Dietz
Sheridan No. 4 Sheridan Coal Co. James Gridley Dietz
Sheridan No. 5 Sheridan Coal Co. James Gridley Dietz
Carney No. 1 Carney Coal Co. C. B. Seymour Carneyville
Monarch No. 1-2 Wyoming Coal Co. W. C. Burkheiser Monarch
Kooi No. 1 Kooi Coal Co. Thomas Hotchkis Kooi
Jumbo Cambria Fuel Co. W. E. Mouck Cambria
North Opening Cambria Fuel Co. W. E. Mouck Cambria
Antelope No. 1 Cambria Fuel Co. W. E. Mouck Cambria
Antelope No. 2 Cambria Fuel Co. W. E. Mouck Cambria
Antelope No. 3 Cambria Fuel Co. W. E. Mouck Cambria
Antelope No. 4 Cambria Fuel Co. W. E. Mouck Cambria
Aladdin Stilwell Coal Co. Robt. Mulliken Aladdin
Hudson Coal Co. Hudson Coal Co. Wm. Hotchkiss Hudson
Gebo Owl Creek Coal Co. H. Burrell Gebo
Big Muddy Cold Creek Coal Co. E. S. Brooks Big Muddy
Glenrock Glenrock Coal Co. John McNeil Denver
COAL PRODUCTION OF STATE
District No. 2
1907 1908 1908
Sheridan No. 2 101,305 250
Sheridan No. 3 600,174 7,021 30
Sheridan No. 4 147,531 260
Sheridan No. 5 119,705 220
Carney No. 1 298,300 193,463 300
Monarch Nos. 1-2 294,899 247,806 450
Kooi No. 1 Not opened 199,000 85
Jumbo 59,550 52
North Opening 26,466 24
Antelope No. 2 361,520 79,399 130
Antelope No. 3 129,026 141
Antelope No. 4 6,617 12
Aladdin 3,369 4,301 14
Hudson Not reported 44,677 125
Gebo Not opened 44,290 200
Big Muddy 22,139 17,492 40
Glenrock 43,219 20,000 40
Mines not reported
Estimated 30,000 50,000 100
Totals 1,653,920 1,527,424 2,517
SUMMARY OF MINING STATISTICS
Number of Mines in Operation 39 52
Number of Men Employed 7,160 7,702
Tons of Coal Produced 6,218,778 5,426,329
Fatal Accidents 23 81
Non-Fatal Accidents 80 65
Your inspectors cannot close in a more fitting manner this report than by pointing out some of the needed changes in the state laws regulating coal mines and some of the causes and their prevention which led to disasters from explosions in mines, in order to bring about legislation which will insure more efficient and careful operation of mines by the adoption of mining methods and safety appliances tending to aid in preventing the terrible losses of life that have occurred through mine explosions in recent years.
While probably beyond the pale of remedial legislation, we cannot but point out here one important phase of the coal mining industry, viz: the large and permanent loss of coal in mining operations, the natural outcome of the case with which coal has been mined in the United States and the enormously rapid growth of the industry. The active competition among operators and the constant resulting effort to produce cheaper coal has led to the mining of only that part of the coal which could be brought to the surface easily and cheaply, leaving underground, in such conditions as to be permanently lost, a considerable percentage of the total possible product. Certainly much of this loss can be prevented through the introduction of more efficient mining methods, and it is to be regretted that legislation cannot be adopted tending to do away with this system, commonly known as “gouging.”
During the past year we are pleased to report that conditions have materially improved as regards the ventilation of mines, due in part, to recommendations of your inspectors. In many mines where the air currents were traveling directly through the entries, curtains and screens are now used to carry the air through into the working faces where the men are at work.
It is imperative that in all coal mines in Wyoming, both gaseous and non-gaseous, an adequate watering or sprinkling system be adopted. One of the great elements of danger in coal mines, tending to bring about explosions, is the presence of coal dust, which accumulates on the floors, roofs, sides and timbers of the slopes, entries and rooms, and coal dust is to be found in mines free from gas as well as in gaseous mines. Explosions of coal dust are impossible when the dust is thoroughly wet. It is not sufficient to have it damp, as it is still possible for it to be stirred up by the explosion of a shot, and when mixed with air, become an explosive of high power. In some mines of the state watering systems are used which sprinkle only the dust on the floor. This is not sufficient, as it is important that a system should be adopted in ALL mines by which it is possible to sprinkle all of the dust, not only on the floor, but that which has accumulated as well on the roof, timbers, sides and elsewhere. This is one of the most important phases of mining legislation today as a thorough system of sprinkling would unquestionable entirely eliminate the possibility of explosions from coal dust in mines.
Another question affecting the safety of mines, probably equally as important as that of watering, is the use of powder. It is known that coal dust mixed with air will explode under certain conditions. It is equally well known that disastrous mine explosions have been caused by the ignition of such mixtures by the explosives used in blasting. But there is a great difference in explosives, some igniting gas mixtures much more easily than others. The term “safety explosive” is now in general use to designate such explosives as can be used in gaseous mines and those containing coal dust, without danger of firing the gas, but it should be born in mind that the term “safety” is entirely relative, for even with the safest powder, there is a limit to the size of the charge which can be used without incurring possible danger of causing ignition. Strictly speaking there is no such thing as a “safety powder.”
For instance, it has been found by experiments that while under certain conditions a charge of one-sixth ounce of black powder may bring about a gas explosion, under the same conditions a charge of carbonite or nyalite may be raised to over two pounds without causing the gas to explode. In other words 200 times as much of these “safety” powders can be used with the same degree of safety. In view of this extreme difference carbonite and nyalite are classified as “safety” powders while black powder is not.
Within the past few years these powders have been introduced to some extent into the coal mines of this country while in England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and France there are strict regulations requiring the use of these powders. And it is a pregnant fact that in these countries the loss of lives through mine explosions is fully 40 per cent less than in the United States, in spite of the fact that the mines are far more dangerous creating as they do a far greater volume of gas.
It is to be regretted that in the mines of Wyoming only black powder is used for blasting. In July 1906, tests were made at Diamondville, Wyo. of nyalite which proved highly satisfactory, the charges giving off much less smoke than black powder and practically no flame. Mine employees, however, are required to buy their own powder for blasting and refused to accept nyalite when they discovered the cost was $3.50 more per 100 pounds than black powder, preferring the additional risk to the extra cost. Inspector Joseph Bird of District No. 1 was present during these tests, being at that time assistant superintendent of the Diamondville mines.
There is much discussion at the present time regarding the relative value of carbonite and nyalite as safety powders, and exhaustive tests are now being made in Pennsylvania. But certain it is that either powder is many times safer than black powder for blasting and the compulsory use of either in Wyoming mines should be provided for by legislation.
KEEPING ROADWAYS CLEAN
There is no legislation in Wyoming regarding the cleaning up of roadways in mines. The accumulation of loose coal produces two elements of danger; first, the possibility of derailments of mine cars, often resulting in loss of life, and second; the accumulation of coal dust, one of the elements of a dangerous explosive. It also makes more difficult the work of watering the mine. Mine foremen frequently report that the superintendents will not permit them sufficient men for this work, and legislation compelling the cleaning of roadways is essential.
JURISDICTION OVER MINES
Under the present laws regulating Wyoming mines your inspectors have no jurisdiction over mines employing less than ten men. It is in these small collieries that the miner is often placed in the greatest danger as the workings are new and the operators, realizing they don’t come under the restrictions of the law, adopt measures in opening mines which increase the danger to the miner at the expense of rapid development work. Moreover those mines do not have to report on their production, which is not only lost for taxation purposes but for statistical purposes as well.
Under the present system examining boards are frequently held throughout the state for the examination of miners for mine foremen and fire bosses. Members of this board frequently have to go comparatively long distances to attend the sessions and while they receive per diem expenses while the board is in session, are not paid mileage. This should be done.
It is also suggested that in the examination of miners that it be provided that no person shall be eligible for a certificate as mine boss or fire boss who is not a citizen of the United States and who has not had at least five years actual experience in underground mining.
We respectfully submit the following recommendations, urging the importance of their enactment into legislation:
WATER SYSTEM. Every owner, agent, manager or lessee of coal mines within the state of Wyoming shall provide and maintain a water system for the purpose of conducting water to every working part of a mine, in sufficient quantities for sprinkling purposes to wet down the dust that shall rise and accumulate in and around the floors, walls, roofs, timbers and all other places in all working portions of a mine. It is further provided that such water system shall be deemed adequate, in the opinion of the state mine inspector, for the safety of the mine.
BLASTING POWDER. We recommend the adoption in ALL coal mines within the state of Wyoming of either carbonite or nyalite for blasting purposes, or other “safety” powder considered equally as good in the opinion of the state mine inspector, that
All shooting of coal off the solid shall not be permitted, that
All powder used for blasting shall be taken into the mine in limited quantities, no more than is sufficient for that day’s blasting, that
All shots shall be fired when the men are out of the mine, with the exception of the shot-firers or those men employed at night in development work, that
Only expert men shall be used in firing shots in coal mines.
CLEANING ROADWAYS. We recommend that all roadways in coal mines shall be kept clean from loose coal, satisfactory to the state mine inspectors.
ESCAPEMENT SHAFTS. We recommend that in the driving of all cross-entries in coal mines that escapement-ways shall be constructed not to exceed 5,000 feet apart; that
Sec. 2563 of the Mining Laws of Wyoming be amended so as to read that “shafts or slopes and manways shall be separated by natural strata at all points by a distance of not less than 100 feet.”
(Section 2563 now provides that these two slopes or shafts shall be not less than 50 feet apart. It will be readily seen that where two buildings are located in close proximity at the mouth of these slopes or shafts a fire in one would be easily communicated to the other. Several serious disasters have occurred in the United States in recent years as a result of this condition.)
STOPPINGS. All abandoned places in gaseous mines that are caved or which cannot be examined by the gas watchmen shall be stopped off with stone stoppings.
EXAMINATIONS. We recommend that no certificate as mine boss or fire boss shall be issued in the state of Wyoming except to miners who are citizens of the United States or who have had at least five years actual experience in underground mining.
MAPS OF MINES. We recommend that maps of the extreme points worked in a mine should be made before they are finally abandoned, as such a map would be a guide of safety to those operating mines adjacent to the one abandoned or inundated.
JURISDICTION OF MINES. We recommend that all mines, whether employing one man or a thousand men, shall be under the jurisdiction of the state coal mine inspectors and subject to the same laws.
MINE REPORTS. We recommend that all new mines opened should report to the state inspector not later than 30 days after operations have commenced, giving the location, name of company, name of superintendent and address.
(Signed) Joseph Bird
Inspector Dist. No. 1
(Signed) Noah Young
Inspector Dist. No. 2