TX Mining Monthly
April 2021
As we roll into the second month of spring, we celebrate life and renewal. Winter melts away, red clover and bluebonnets bloom, and the COVID vaccination roll-out gains momentum. In the spirit of hope and life, it’s time to recommit to safety – for ourselves and for our fellow miners. According to MSHA, April signals the beginning of the spring season and the startup of many mines and projects idled during the winter months. It is also a deadly month for miners.
TMRA Members and Friends: First, I hope that each of you, or as many as possible, have already made plans to join TMRA and the RMCMI for our April 21-22 event in Tyler, TX. If you have yet to make plans but can make it happen, IT IS NOT TOO LATE! Reach out to us. See the event flyer and LINK in this eNewsletter. We need your participation and, where possible, your sponsorship support. Our April eNewsletter theme, "A Renewed Focus," includes a focus and commitment to our combined efforts to support our organizations, our industries and, from that, our Communities!
Please join us for a joint regional meeting between Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute and Texas Mining & Reclamation Association to be held at The Holiday Inn Tyler - Conference Center in Tyler, Texas. The Cascades Country Club club house was damaged during the recent storms in Texas, therefore they are no longer able to accommodate our meeting. The golf course survived the storm, so we are going to move forward with our tournament at the Cascades golf course as originally planned.
Click below for more details!
ROMCO Equipment Company
Waukesha-Pearce Industries, LLC
Industry News
This year has been notable for its list of unusual and challenging events. Over a period of months, the coronavirus has dealt repeated blows to the entire world’s medical system and markets. Then, just as people began to take their first steps out of COVID-19 lockdowns, massive social justice protests, rioting and demands for fundamental reforms of policing rocked the nation as well. At the same time, policy prescriptions like the Green New Deal have also demanded "climate justice" be achieved by completely reorganizing the planet’s energy supplies.
Last year may have given the energy industry a glimpse of the future — but it may only be a temporary glimpse, according to the EIA. Coal-fired generation has fallen 61% since 2008, and fell below nuclear powered generation for the first time in decades last year, according to the EIA. And while current economic and social trends have put downward pressure on coal generation capacity, which has dropped by nearly a third since 2008, the EIA believes the current lows are a result of short-term price trends brought on by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, the recent electricity emergencies in Texas this month and California last August serve as warnings about the risks of losing fuel diversity — and relying too much on just one or two sources of electricity — and reducing fuel security by shutting down power plants that are reliable because they always have fuel available, regardless of extreme weather and other disruptions. Click below to watch a new video that highlights some of these challenges.
From where does milk come? Regrettably, for too many, the answer is, "From the grocery store, of course!" It seems the cow’s vital role in the supply chain is often overlooked. As a society, we don’t give much thought to the origins of the products we depend on every day. We may notice if something is made in America or abroad, but even if it is manufactured here, from where did the raw materials — the minerals and metals — come? Far too often, the answer is from a foreign country and usually one with a far lower environmental ethos than ours.
As the RRC celebrates its 130th anniversary, it is forging ahead in the 21st century by embracing the latest technologies to better serve the public and improve its oversight of the oil and gas industry, the safety of pipelines, natural gas utilities, liquified petroleum gas (LP-gas), and coal and uranium surface mining operations. The last of RRC’s rail functions transferred away in 2005. The need for RRC’s regulation of the state’s energy resources has been evident with recent periods of massive growth and contraction because of market volatility.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the availability of $10,537,000 in state grant funding to provide training and retraining of miners and mine operators working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines. The training is federally mandated. Any state in which mining takes place may apply for the grant. MSHA may fund 80 percent of the activities under a state grant program, and the state must provide at least 20 percent of the total program costs.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today the availability of up to $1 million to fund grants to support education and training to help mine workers identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions. The funding, made available by the department’s Brookwood-Sago grant program, will enable grant recipients to develop training materials, provide mine safety training or educational programs, recruit mine operators and miners for training, and conduct and evaluate training.
We are in the process of developing a social media campaign for our Facebook and Twitter social media channels – #TheFutureIsBright – to highlight how you, a TMRA member, are supplying the power and materials that ensure a bright future as we move into 2021.
Email Christian Goff at cgoff@pureenergypr.com to learn more or to submit your photo. 
Sponsor a Teacher
You can Sponsor A Teacher anytime during the year. This Sponsor A Teacher program gives all members/companies an opportunity to support TMRA’s successful teacher education program. A contribution of $1,500 will sponsor one teacher for a workshop that covers teaching materials, meals, lodging, etc. This is your chance to promote our industry by sponsoring a teacher! To learn more, click below.
The U.S. Department of Labor issued today stronger worker safety guidance to help mine operators and mine workers implement a coronavirus protection program and better identify risks that could lead to exposure. The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s "Protecting Miners: MSHA Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19" provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. MSHA is providing the recommendations to help mine operators and miners identify coronavirus risks.
The mining industry has a reputation for being a risky business, with health risks that are varied and often quite serious, and it is important for miners to protect themselves accordingly. Nevertheless, mining doesn’t have to be unsafe. With the introduction of strict safety legislation and protocol, as well as advances in safety equipment, the industry has seen its fatality rate drop over time. Although the goal of zero harm has not yet been achieved, it remains the standard that mining companies continue to strive towards.
Mining is one of the most dangerous industries on the planet. However, over the years, mine owners and operators have taken giant leaps to improve the safety of their workers. It may still be among some of the most dangerous industries, but you would be amazed at just what technology now exists to give employers and their employees much-needed peace of mind.
Recruitment and Hiring
How we manage the energy transition will have huge implications for the reliability and affordability of our energy supply and for the millions of workers that are the foundation of our current energy system. While there are strong voices – including from labor – calling for caution during the transition, the Biden administration has now made clear it wants to hit the accelerator. And to many observers, the administration is making promises about jobs it can’t keep.
Across industries, the potential for drones or unmanned aerial vehicles is starting to be realised. From military drones to children’s toys, drones are making a big impact. The mining industry is no different, and drones are already being used throughout the world for maintenance and exploration activities. Companies are turning to drones for a number of reasons, such as improved safety, increased efficiency and cost savings.
Legislative Update
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to move quickly to propose new CO2 limits for power plants, as President Joe Biden aims to decarbonize the power sector by 2035. Attorney Kyle Danish, speaking today at the American Coal Council's Spring Coal Forum, said the new rules could be "quite stringent," with "significant effects on coal-fired power plants."
President Biden unveiled his infrastructure and jobs package today. A major bipartisan push to rebuild crumbling tunnels, bridges, roads and jumpstart critical investment in renewable energy and electric vehicle (EV) technology and deployment could not come at a better time.
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Upcoming Events
Jan 2021
TMRA has added events for 2021 to its meeting calendar that now goes through the end of the year. Click below to see all events and stay updated!
Apr 2021
April 21–22, 2021
Jun 2021
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Jun 2021
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
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