Regulators warn eight mines, including one in Kentucky, about violations

Federal mine-safety regulators have notified eight mines, including one in Kentucky, that they have a potential pattern of significant violations of health and safety rules.

The notification means the mines must improve safety or face the potential for increased mandatory shutdowns to fix problems.

The Kentucky facility that got a notice was the Manalapan Mining Co. Inc.'s RB No. 12 underground mine in Harlan County, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Wednesday.

The other seven mines were in West Virginia, Virginia, Illinois and Nevada.

When MSHA notifies a mine it has a potential pattern of violations, the operator has a chance to reduce health and safety violations. If that doesn't happen, MSHA can place the mine on pattern of violation status.

The agency placed two mines on that status in April for the first time in the history of the 1977 federal mine-safety law.

Those mines were the Bledsoe Coal Corp.'s Abner Branch Rider Mine in Leslie County and the New West Virginia Mining Co.'s Apache Mine in McDowell County, W.Va., according to MSHA.