CONSOL Energy President Nicholas J. Deluliis said the academy, which is part of the Bailey Mine complex, the company’s largest underground mining operation, is adjacent to the Bailey mine expansion (BMX) mine. Capital investment in the new mine, which is scheduled to begin operations in spring of 2014 and will produce 5 million tons per year of high-vol or thermal coal at low cost, is expected to total $710 million.

Officially opened in March 2012, the underground training facility is the first of its kind dedicated to coal mining in the United States and was built to enhance CONSOL Energy’s core value of safety, CONSOL said. To date, 204 miners have completed the program with 350 forecast to finish by the end of the year. The first group of trainees to complete the program was CONSOL Energy’s frontline supervisory workforce.

“As CONSOL Energy approaches its 150th anniversary, it is remarkable to see how technology and innovation have dramatically transformed the mining industry, its safety measures, and how coal is delivered to energy markets,” said Deluliis. “Preparing the workforce of tomorrow to do our work safely will allow CONSOL Energy to continue to push the envelope and drive improvement into our next 150 years. This facility is unique to our industry and demonstrates, clearly, our commitment to our top core value of safety. It also amplifies our history of innovation here at the Bailey complex. Over the last five years, we have seen steady progress through our safety initiatives — and this academy will help continue that trend.”