Regulators shut down Knott mine

Federal regulators have issued an order barring production at a Knott County coal mine because the operators have failed to pay more than $300,000 in safety fines, according to a news release.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Monday that it had issued a withdrawal order to Double A Mining Inc. That means the operator can't mine coal until it pays its delinquent fines.

It was the first time the federal mine-safety agency has shut down a mine over unpaid health and safety fines, MSHA said in a news release.

The company had failed to pay a total of $313,820 in fines for more than 360 safety violations at its underground No. 4 mine, MSHA said.

The operator of the mine hadn't made a penalty payment since August 2004, the agency said.

No one from Double A was immediately available for comment.

While the withdrawal order is in effect, the only work allowed at the mine will be the functions needed to keep it safe, such as maintaining ventilation systems.