Alpha Natural Resources opens mine safety center

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Alpha Natural Resources has opened a mine safety and operations education and training facility in Julian, W.Va.

The Bristol-based coal company invested $23 million into the Running Right Leadership Academy and development of its curriculum, which includes technical, safety and leadership skills.

The 136,000-square-foot campus includes classroom space for up to 300 people, a 96,000-square-foot lab that can simulate mine conditions, the latest mine safety technologies, a command center for mine rescue and emergency preparedness training and facilities and equipment for supervisory leadership training. All Alpha employees will go through the training facility.

Virtual reality simulators will allow participants to operate mining machines, roof bolters, scoop and haul trucks. They will receive real-time feedback on their performance.

“The Alpha Academy is an extension of Alpha’s employee-driven Running Right safety philosophy, which focuses on eliminating at-risk behavior through employee observation and reporting,” CEO Kevin Crutchfield said in a statement. “Our ultimate aim is to further improve employee safety and regulatory performance so that we move closer to zero safety related incidents.”

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