Alpha has also appointed three directors to administer the foundation: Dr. Michael Karmis, Ph.D., Dr. David Wegman, M.D., M.Sc., and Dr. Keith Heasley, Ph.D. The three directors are highly qualified experts in mine health and safety and come from diverse professional and academic backgrounds, Alpha noted. The Alpha Foundation plans to host a kick-off meeting this summer where the directors will discuss funding priorities.

“The safety of our employees is the highest value of our company, and mine safety and health is imperative to the success of our industry,” said Kevin Crutchfield, CEO, Alpha Natural Resources. “This presents a tremendous opportunity to drive the latest developments and innovation in mine safety and health to the benefit of miners around the world.”

The Alpha Foundation was established pursuant to the company’s Non-Prosecution Agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and the U.S. Department of Justice, entered into on December 6, 2011. The directors were appointed with the U.S. Attorney’s approval.

Dr. Karmis is the Stonie Barker Professor of the Department of Mining & Minerals Engineering and the Director of the Virginia Center for Coal & Energy Research at Virginia Tech. He is an expert in the areas of rock mechanics and ground control, mining systems, and the sustainable development of energy and mineral resources.

Dr. Wegman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Adjunct Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His epidemiologic research includes the study of acute and chronic occupational respiratory disease, occupational cancer risk and occupational musculoskeletal disorders, with special interests in the study of subjective outcomes as early indicators of health effects and in surveillance of occupational conditions and risks.

Dr. Heasley is a professor in the Department of Mining Engineering at West Virginia University, and is a licensed professional engineer and a registered professional engineer in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. His primary research interests are numerical modeling in rock mechanics, computer applications in mining, and multiple-seam mine design and ground control.