Alpha Natural Resources: Poor work and safety conditions

With the acquisition of Massey Energy, Alpha Natural Resources became the most   controversial mining company in 2011.[1] Massey Energy had a long history of social and environmental irresponsibility. With the purchase, Alpha Natural Resources also took on these problems. Massey Energy is infamous for contaminating aquifers and wells with coal slurry, pumped into underground mines between 1978 and 1987. More and more details about the safety policy of Massey Energy were revealed in April 2010, following an infamous explosion at a coal mine resulting in 29 deaths. Since that incident, Massey Energy has received over 1000 citations from the US Mining Safety and Health Administration.

In 2011, people filed suit to stop the transaction that would make Massey Energy part of Alpha Natural Resources. Lawyers argued that top Massey executives arranged the sale to avoid personal liability for the deaths of the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch explosion. Documents show that the former Alpha Natural Resources CEO entered into a pact with the Massey Energy officers who were directing the internal investigation, promising high-ranking positions within the post-merger company.[2] Nevertheless, in June 2011 shareholders approved Alpha Natural Resources’ purchase of Massey Energy.

[1]   Rep Risk Report, March 2011

[2] Source Watch 2012:

Affected topics
  • Human and Labour Rights
Directly and indirectly (through shareholding) involved companies Indirect investors through shareholding

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