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Notice

Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Notification of Methane Detected in Underground Metal and Nonmetal Mine Atmospheres

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AGENCY:

Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION:

Request for public comments.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A). This Start Printed Page 30496program helps to assure 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 on the information collection for Notification of Methane Detected in Underground Metal and Nonmetal Mine Atmospheres.

DATES:

All comments must be received on or before July 27, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Comments concerning the information collection requirements of this notice may be sent by any of the methods listed below.

  • Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments for docket number MSHA-2015-0010.
  • Regular Mail: Send comments to MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, VA 22209-3939.
  • Hand Delivery: USDOL-Mine Safety and Health Administration, 201 12th Street S., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22202-5452. Sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 4th floor via the East elevator bank.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sheila McConnell, Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at MSHA.information.collections@dol.gov (email); 202-693-9440 (voice); or 202-693-9441 (facsimile).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Methane is a flammable gas found in underground mines in the United States. Although methane is often associated with underground coal mines, it also occurs in some metal and nonmetal mines. Underground metal and Nonmetal mines are categorized according to the potential to liberate methane (30 CFR 57.22003—Mine category or subcategory). Methane is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, and it tends to rise to the roof of a mine because it is lighter than air. Although methane itself is nontoxic, its presence reduces the oxygen content by dilution when mixed with air and, consequently, can act as an asphyxiant when present in large quantities.

Methane may enter the mining environment from a variety of sources including fractures, faults, or shear zones overlying or underlying the strata that surround the ore body, or from the ore body itself. It may occur as an occluded gas within the ore body. Methane mixed with air is explosive in the range of 5 to 15 percent, provided that 12 percent or more oxygen is present. The presence of dust containing volatile matter in the mine atmosphere may further enhance the explosion potential of methane in a mine. Section 103(i) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), as amended, requires additional inspections be conducted at mines depending on the amount of methane liberated from a mine.

Title 30 CFR 57.22004(c) requires operators of underground metal and nonmetal mines mines to notify MSHA as soon as possible if any of the following events occur: (a) There is an outburst that results in 0.25 percent or more methane in the mine atmosphere, (b) there is a blowout that results in 0.25 percent or more methane in the mine atmosphere, (c) there is an ignition of methane, or (d) air sample results indicate 0.25 percent or more methane in the mine atmosphere of a I-B, I-C, II-B, V-B, or Category VI mine. Under sections 57.22239 and 57.22231, if methane reaches 2.0 percent in a Category IV mine or if methane reaches 0.25 percent in the mine atmosphere of a Subcategory I-B, II-B, V-B, or VI mine, MSHA shall be notified immediately. Although the standards do not specify how MSHA is to be notified, MSHA anticipates that the notifications would be made by telephone.

Title 30 CFR 57.22229 and 57.22230 require that the mine atmosphere be tested for methane and/or carbon dioxide at least once every seven days by a competent person or atmospheric monitoring system or a combination of both. Section 57.2229 applies to underground metal and nonmetal mines mines categorized as I-A, III, and V-A mines where the atmosphere is tested for both methane and carbon dioxide. Section 57.22230 applies to underground metal and nonmetal mines mines categorized as II-A mines where the atmosphere is tested for methane. Where examinations disclose hazardous conditions, affected miners must be informed. Title 30 CFR 57.22229(d) and 57.22230(c) require that the person performing the tests certify by signature and date that the tests have been conducted. Certifications of examinations shall be kept for at least one year and made available to authorized representatives of the Secretary of Labor.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

MSHA is soliciting comments concerning the proposed information collection related to Notification of Methane Detected in Underground Metal and Nonmetal Mine Atmospheres. MSHA is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information has practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of MSHA's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Suggest methods to 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 submission of responses.

The information collection request will be available on MSHA's Web site and on http://www.regulations.gov. MSHA cautions the commenter against providing any information in the submission that should not be publicly disclosed. Full comments, including personal information provided, will be made available on www.regulations.gov and www.reginfo.gov.

The public may also examine publicly available documents at MSHA, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, VA. Sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st floor.

Questions about the information collection requirements may be directed to the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.

III. Current Actions

This request for collection of information contains provisions for Notification of Methane Detected in Underground Metal and Nonmetal Mine Atmospheres. MSHA has updated the data with respect to the number of respondents, responses, burden hours, and burden costs supporting this information collection request.

Type of Review: Extension, without change, of a currently approved collection.

Agency: Mine Safety and Health Administration.

OMB Number: 1219-0103.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

Number of Respondents: 4.

Frequency: On occasion.

Number of Responses: 213.

Annual Burden Hours: 18 hours.Start Printed Page 30497

Annual Respondent or Recordkeeper Cost: $0.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and 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: May 21, 2015.

Sheila McConnell,

Certifying Officer.

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[FR Doc. 2015-12842 Filed 5-27-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-43-P