Four-month shutdown at Minorca

VIRGINIA — One person is dead after a single-vehicle crash at ArcelorMittal’s Minorca mine in Virginia on Tuesday morning.

Erik Jonassen, a battalion chief at the Virginia Fire Department Battalion Chief, said emergency crews responded to a report of a service truck crash at 9:40 a.m. on a haul road within the mine. One person was found not breathing and later reported dead.

Virginia Police Chief Nicole Mattson said in an email Tuesday night that the 40-year-old male driver died from injuries sustained in the accident, but the victim’s identification is being withheld pending family notification. An ArcleorMittal spokesperson confirmed Tuesday night that the victim was a longtime employee at the mine.

“We are saddened to confirm there was a fatality at ArcelorMittal Minorca this morning,” an ArcelorMittal spokesperson wrote in an email. “The company extends our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of our colleague during this difficult time.”

The United Steelworkers trade union was not available for immediate comment.

Both the Virginia Police Department and the Minnesota Mine Safety and Health Administration are investigating the most recent death. It is also being investigated by ArcelorMittal and the Steelworkers. The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office was also on the scene with Virginia first responders.

“On behalf of the Iron Mining Association, we are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred at the Minorca Mine this morning,” said Kelsey Johnson, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, in a post on the group’s social media page. “We extend our deepest condolences to family and friends, the ArcelorMittal team, and the entire mining community during this difficult time.”

Tuesday’s incident is the first reported fatality at an Iron Range mine since two people died on mining sites in 2007, one of them at the Minorca Mine, according to the 2018 St. Louis County Mine Inspector’s report. ArcelorMittal reported one safety incident last year when an employee missed 154 days of work due to a broken foot resulting from welding accident.

“ArcelorMittal strives to ensure every employee and contractor returns home from work safely,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are deeply troubled by today’s incident and will make every effort to understand the cause and prevent reoccurrence.”


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