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Beleaguered coal company abandons a second Utah mine

Beleaguered coal company abandons a second Utah mine

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Tower coal mine has been shut down for good.

Murray Energy Corp. Vice President Rob Murray confirmed that the emergency closing is permanent and that the company has no plans to return to the mine, seven miles north of Price. Geologists and mining engineers say the mine has plenty of coal left.

Murray Energy's UtahAmerican Energy Inc. announced last Friday the shutdown of 2,750-foot-deep Tower, which the company calls the deepest coal mine in the U.S., because of "unusual stress conditions" on mine pillars.

UtahAmerican Energy was slapped with $420,000 in fines for "flagrant" safety violations involving explosive hazards at the same mine a week earlier.

On Thursday, the families of six men killed at Utah's Crandall Canyon mine, which collapsed Aug. 6, sued Murray Energy and affiliates. The miners bodies are entombed there, and that mine has been walled off with cinderblocks.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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