During special impact inspections conducted August 12 and November 4, 2010, mine personnel were warned against giving advance notice that an inspection party was present on mine property. MSHA personnel immediately captured the phone systems at both operations to assure compliance. However, those instructions were ignored at both operations.

“Mine employees understand that advance notification is illegal,” said Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “The fact that workers at these two mines were cautioned against warning their colleagues underground of the presence of federal inspectors, yet did so anyway, shows a total disregard for the law.”

A preliminary injunction hearing was held on January 7. On January 10, Judge Kim R. Gibson issued an order enjoining Rosebud Mining from giving advance notice to any person working underground at these mines that a federal mine inspector is on site. The judge also noted the court will hold a status conference on this matter at intervals of approximately 60 days to ensure that the injunction is being enforced. The initial status conference is scheduled for March 1, 2011.