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Turkey Mine Disaster Serves Lesson To Kentucky

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The Public Professor
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Recovery operations continue as rescuers search for survivors of a mine explosion in Turkey earlier this week. At the time of the blast, there were reportedly just under 800 miners inside the western Turkey mine. 

University of Kentucky Department of Mining Engineering's Tom Novak says a large mine in Kentucky might have four to five hundred miners total for all shifts.

"Even more so in Kentucky, because you have a lot of smaller mines.  Now, we do have some large mines in Kentucky, but no where near the amount, the size of the workforce that occurred at the mine in Turkey,” says Novak.

Tom Novak says that while the conditions and regulations observed in Turkey are different, mining officials here in the U.S. are mindful of the lessons learned.

"Any time you do an investigation like that, it's a learning process, and even though the way mining is done here versus what is done in Turkey and the types of regulations that we have here versus what is done in Turkey, even with those differences, there's always something that we can learn,” adds Novak.

Novak says there are no limitations on the number of miners at U.S. operations, but adds coal operators are not going to use any more personnel than are needed. 

Novak was a part of the investigation team for the 2006 Sago mine disaster in West Virginia in which 12 miners died.