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Roof Collapse at Cargill’s Avery Island Salt Mine Leaves 2 Missing in Louisiana

Two people are missing today, following a roof collapse at Cargill’s Avery Island salt mine in Iberia Parish, Louisiana.

18 Miners Were on Site When Roof Collapsed

According to media reports, the collapse occurred sometime Monday morning, as 18 miners were working at the site. While 16 people were safely evacuated from the mine, two remain unaccounted for.

“We are working fervently onsite with local first responders and the Mine Safety and Health Administration to respond to this emergency,” Cargill said in a statement. “That is our top priority.”

The Avery Island salt mine was shut down following yesterday’s collapse and will remain closed pending an investigation.

Avery Island Salt Mine Cited for Over 50 Safety Violations in 2020

Located along Highway 329 South, about 30 miles south of Lafayette, the Avery Island salt mine is operated by Cargill Deicing Technology.

It’s not clear what caused yesterday’s roof collapse. But  Mine Safety and Health Administration records reviewed by The Acadiana Advocate showed that federal inspectors had cited the Avery Island mine for more than 50 safety violations this year alone. Just last month, an inspection uncovered four violations involving self-rescue devices for underground workers. Federal regulations require that a self-rescue device be available for every person in the mine.

A September inspection identified violations associated with emergency stop devices for conveyors, hazardous waste, unattended equipment, and staff training. Other citations issued in 2020 involved firefighting equipment, danger signs, safety equipment, safety defect processes, and parking procedures for equipment.

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