WEST VIRGINIA - The state of WEST VIRGINIA, home of 177 underground coal mines, has approved the use of a wireless system to communicate with trapped miners. The system is made by Sudbury, Ont.-based VARIS MINE TECHNOLOGY (www.Varis.com).
While the approvals apply only in West Virginia, the move is being watched closely across the country. Sweeping federal mine safety legislation passed a year ago requires wireless communications and tracking in more than 600 underground coal mines across the United States by 2009.
In West Virginia, mines must submit plans for wireless communications and tracking by July 31. Modification and approval of those plans is expected to take until October, and state officials hope to have equipment installed in every mine by the end of next year.