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Proposed Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations; Applications for a Permit to Fire More Than 20 Boreholes, for the Use of Nonpermissible Blasting Units, Explosives, and Shot-firing Units

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The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of the information collection related to the application for a permit to fire more than 20 boreholes, for the use of nonpermissible blasting units, and for the use of nonpermissible explosives and nonpermissible shot-firing units, and posting of warning notices with regard to mis-fired explosives.


Submit comments on or before May 3, 2004.


Send comments to Darrin King, Chief, Records Management Division, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2139, Arlington, VA 22209-3939. Commenters are encouraged to send their comments on a computer disk, or via e-mail to, along with an original printed copy. Mr. King can be reached at (202) 693-9838 (voice) or 202-693-9801 (facsimile).

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A copy of the proposed information collection request and further information may be obtained by contacting Darrin King, Chief, Records Management Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2139, Arlington, VA 22209-3939. Mr. King can be reached at (Internet e-mail), (202) 693-9838 (voice), or (202) 693-9801(facsimile).

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I. Background

Under section 313 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), 30 U.S.C. 873, a mine operator is required to use permissible explosives in underground coal mines. The Mine Act also provides that under safeguards prescribed by the Secretary of Labor, a mine operator may permit the firing of more than 20 shots and the use of nonpermissible explosives in sinking shafts and slopes from the surface in rock. Title 30 CFR 75.1321 outlines the procedures by which a permit may be issued for the firing of more than 20 boreholes and/or the use of nonpermissible shot-firing units in underground coal mines. In those instances in which there is a misfire of explosives, 30 CFR 75.1327 requires that a qualified person post each accessible entrance to the affected area with a warning to prohibit entry. Title 30 CFR 77.1909-1 outlines the procedures by which a coal mine operator may apply for a permit to use nonpermissible explosives and/or shot-firing units in the blasting of rock while sinking shafts or slopes for underground coal mines.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

MSHA is particularly interested in comments which:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Actions

Title 30 CFR 75.1321, 75.1327 and 77.1901-1 provide MSHA District Managers with the authority to address unusual but reoccurring blasting practices needed for breaking rock types more resilient than coal and for misfires in blasting coal. MSHA uses the information requested to issue permits to mine operators or shaft and slope Start Printed Page 10266contractors for the use of nonpermissible explosives and/or shot-firing units under 30 CFR part 77, subpart T—Slope and Shaft Sinking. Similar permits are issued by MSHA to underground coal mine operators for shooting more than 20 bore holes and/or for the use of nonpermissible shot firing units when requested under 30 CFR part 75, subpart N—Explosives and Blasting. The approved permits allow the use of specific equipment and explosives in limited applications and under exceptional circumstances where standard coal blasting techniques or equipment is inadequate to the task. These permits inform mine management and the miners of the steps to be employed to protect the safety of any person exposed to such blasting while using nonpermissible items. Also, the posting of danger/warning signs at entrances to locations where an misfired blast hole or round remains indisposed is a safety precaution predating the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act.

Type of Review: Extension (without change).

Agency: Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Title: Application for a Permit to Fire More than 20 Boreholes for the use of Nonpermissible Blasting Units, Explosives, and Shot-firing Units.

OMB Number: 1219-0025.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit institutions.

Cite/referenceTotal respondentsFrequencyTotal responsesAverage time per responseBurden (hours)
75.1321 Permit Appl19On Occasion191 hour19
75.1327 Misfire Notices Posted57On Occasion5720 minutes19
77.1909-1 Permit APL29On Occasion291 hour29

Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): $0.

Total Burden Cost (operating/maintaining): $588.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated at Arlington, Virginia, this 26th day of February, 2004.

David L. Meyer,

Director, Office of Administration and Management.

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[FR Doc. 04-4837 Filed 3-3-04; 8:45 am]