Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 14. Requirements Applicable to Underground Mineral Mines
9/25/2021

Part B. Underground Mineral Mines..

Chapter 14. Requirements Applicable to Underground Mineral Mines.

§ 45.2-1400. (Effective October 1, 2021) Scope of chapter.

This chapter is applicable to the operation of any underground mineral mine in the Commonwealth and shall supplement the provisions of Chapter 11 (§ 45.2-1100 et seq.).

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.293; 1997, c. 390; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1401. (Effective October 1, 2021) Regulations governing conditions and practices at underground mineral mines.

A. The Director shall adopt, in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act, regulations necessary to ensure the safety and health of miners and other persons and property at underground mineral mines in the Commonwealth. Nothing in this section shall restrict the Director from adopting regulations more stringent than regulations adopted pursuant to the federal mine safety law. Such regulations applicable to underground mineral mines shall establish requirements for the:

1. Protection of miners from general risks found at underground mineral mines and in mining;

2. Provision and use of personal protection equipment and devices for the head, feet, hands, and body;

3. Maintenance, operation, storage, and transportation of mechanical or electrical equipment, devices, and machinery used in the underground mining of minerals;

4. Control of unstable roof, face, rib, floor, and other ground conditions;

5. Handling and storage of combustible materials, including requirements for emergency plans, firefighting and emergency rescue, fire prevention and safety features on mine equipment, fire safety in mine structures and other areas, and other flame and spark hazards;

6. Control of exposure to airborne contaminants and excessive noise levels;

7. Provision of adequate air quality and quantity through ventilation and other appropriate measures;

8. Safe storage, transportation, and use of explosives and blasting devices;

9. Safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of drilling equipment;

10. Construction, installation, maintenance, use, and inspection of boilers, air compressors, and compressed gas systems;

11. Safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of passageways, walkways, ladders, and other travel ways;

12. Safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of electrical equipment and systems;

13. Safe storage, transportation, and handling of materials, including corrosive and hazardous substances;

14. Safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of guards on moving parts of equipment and machinery;

15. Safe design and operation of chutes;

16. Inspection, maintenance, safe design, and operation of hoisting equipment and cables;

17. Inspection, maintenance, and construction of mine shafts;

18. Actions to be taken by certified and competent persons; and

19. Safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of, and the conduct of mining activities at, surface areas of underground mineral mines.

B. The Director shall not adopt any regulation relating to underground mineral mines that is inconsistent with any requirement established by the Act or that, if an operator were to take action to comply with the provisions of such regulation, would place the operator in violation of the federal mine safety law.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.294; 1996, c. 774; 1998, c. 695; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1402. (Effective October 1, 2021) Adoption of regulations.

The Director shall adopt regulations:

1. Regarding transportation of miners, including regulations regarding (i) the carrying of tools by miners on mantrips; (ii) the riding of any miner, except the motorman and trip rider, inside a car; and (iii) the boarding and disembarking of miners to and from mantrips;

2. Requiring any bare wire and any cable other than a ground wire, grounded power conductor, or trailing cable to be supported by insulators and away from combustible materials, roof, and ribs;

3. Regarding the bonding, welding, or securing of rails and track switches where track is used to conduct electrical power;

4. Requiring the installation of disconnecting switches underground in all main power circuits at appropriate locations;

5. Requiring respiratory equipment and hearing protection, including by requiring that (i) each miner exposed for short periods to a hazard from inhalation of gas, dust, or fumes wear approved respiratory equipment and (ii) each operator supply hearing protection to miners upon request; and

6. Requiring that fire precautions be taken when mining equipment is transported underground in proximity to energized trolley wires or trolley feeder wires.

Code 1950, §§ 45-14.1, 45-69.2, 45-82, 45-82.1, 45-82.3, 45-86; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-74, 45.1-78, 45.1-80, 45.1-89, 45.1-99; 1985, c. 296; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.298; 1974, c. 323; 1978, c. 118, 729, § 45.1-99.1; 1984, c. 590; 1985, c. 296, 500; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, §§ 45.1-161.298 through 45.1-161.303; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1403. (Effective October 1, 2021) Flame safety lamps.

No flame safety lamp shall be used for detecting methane. The Director shall determine whether flame safety lamps shall constitute approved devices for detecting oxygen deficiency. If flame safety lamps are approved for such purpose, the Director shall establish standards for their use and maintenance.

Code 1950, § 45-69.7; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-64; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.297; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1404. (Effective October 1, 2021) Standards for regulations.

In adopting regulations pursuant to § 45.2-1401 or 45.2-1402, the Director shall consider:

1. Standards utilized and generally recognized by the underground mineral mining industry;

2. Standards established by recognized professional mineral mining organizations and groups;

3. The federal mine safety law;

4. Research, demonstrations, experiments, and any other information available regarding the maintenance of a reasonable degree of safety protection, including the latest available scientific data in the field, the technical and economic feasibility of such standards, and experience gained under the Act and other mine safety laws; and

5. Any other criteria necessary to ensure the safety and health of miners and other persons or property likely to be affected by any underground mineral mine or related operation.

1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.295; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1405. (Effective October 1, 2021) Mining in proximity to gas and oil wells.

A. The Director shall adopt regulations requiring each licensed operator to notify, and in appropriate circumstances obtain the consent of, the Director prior to removing minerals in proximity to any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled.

B. Any licensed operator who plans to remove any mineral, drive any passage or entry, or extend any workings in any mine within 500 feet of any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled shall file with the Director a notice that mining is taking place or will take place, together with copies of the maps and plans required under § 45.2-1131 showing the mine workings and projected mine workings that are within 500 feet of the well. The licensed operator shall simultaneously mail copies of such notice, maps, and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector appointed pursuant to the provisions of § 45.2-1604. Each such notice shall contain a certification made by the sender that the sender has complied with such requirements.

C. After filing such notice, the licensed operator may proceed with mining operations in accordance with the maps and plans submitted; however, without the prior approval of the Director, the operator shall not remove any material, drive any entry, or extend any workings in any mine within 200 feet of any gas or oil well already drilled or in the process of being drilled. Each licensed operator who files such a petition shall mail copies of the petition, maps, and plans by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the well operator and the Gas and Oil Inspector no later than the day of filing. The Gas and Oil Inspector and the well operator shall have standing to object to any petition filed under this section. Any such objection shall be filed within 10 days following the date such petition is filed.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-92.1; 1994, c. 28, § 45.1-161.296; 1997, c. 390; 1998, c. 695; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.