Coal mine operator pleads guilty to safety violations

The operator of an underground coal mine near Jenkins pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to three of four counts of violating mine safety laws.

Alger B. Jent, 57, of Kite in Knott County installed roof bolts that were too weak and too short in the CSA Mining No. 2 mine near Jenkins, according to an indictment that followed a Mine Safety and Health Administration investigation. A fourth count for installing bolts that were too far apart was dismissed.

The problematic roof bolts were found by MSHA special investigators from Pikeville in June 2008.

According to MSHA records, the CSA mine was delinquent on more than $760,000 in fines, including a $147,000 fine in December 2008 for not following the mine's roof-control plan. There have been no accidents at the mine, according to MSHA records.

Jent could be sentenced to a year in prison and fined up to $250,000. Sentencing was set for June 28.

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