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New mine safety test lab proposed for site on Pocahontas-Randolph border

By RICK STEELHAMMER

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is eyeing a 460-acre tract straddling the Randolph-Pocahontas County line near Mace as the future site of a research center and testing laboratory for underground mine safety.

NIOSH personnel on Wednesday hosted an open house at Slatyfork to acquaint the public with the results of a recently completed draft environmental impact statement for the proposed test center. If developed, it would include a 164,000-square-foot underground safety test lab and a five-acre surface complex of office, storage and control buildings totaling at least 17,000 square feet.

The Mace site would replace the Lake Lynn Experimental Mine, located in an underground chamber in a limestone quarry near Fairchance, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles north of Morgantown. NIOSH operated that site from 1982 until 2012, when the landowner opted not to sell or extend the lease for the property to the federal government.

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