Mine Shields will begin tests to get its mine refuge chambers certified by the Mine Safety and Health Administration on March 21, CEO Connie Hendren told me today.
The tests will take about four weeks to complete (April 18 is exactly four weeks from the starting date). When Mine Shields first came to Garrard County back in April 2010, it announced it would employ about 35 people initially, but that as many as 200 could be employed and a second Garrard location opened if the company was able to get its refuge chambers MSHA-certified.
No company had received MSHA certification yet when Mineshields announced its plans, and as far as I know, that’s still the case. I couldn’t find any news articles online saying otherwise.
If Mine Shields becomes the first certified mine refuge chamber producer, it means the company would have a national market and something of a monopoly until someone else is able to pass MSHA-certification muster as well. The potential market opened by certification is what Mine Shields based its estimate of at least 200 jobs in Garrard County on.