Miner Suffers Fatal Injuries at Kentucky Coal Mine

ABINGDON, Va., July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A 26-year-old miner from Prestonsburg, Ky., suffered fatal injuries yesterday evening at the Voyager #7 underground coal mine near Inez, Ky.

Ryan Thatcher, a motorman at the Voyager #7 mine, was hauling supplies with a rail-mounted locomotive at the time of the accident, which was estimated to have occurred at approximately 7:00 p.m. yesterday. Though there were no eyewitnesses to the accident, the preliminary review indicates that Mr. Thatcher was fatally injured while traveling beneath an overcast beam on the roof of the mine.

Mr. Thatcher was unresponsive when found and co-workers immediately administered CPR at the scene, subsequently removing the victim to a waiting ambulance. Family members were notified of the accident yesterday evening.

"This is a sad moment and our hearts go out to Mr. Thatcher's family and friends," said Allen Dupree, president of Alpha's Northern Kentucky business unit. "We are working diligently with state and federal agencies to confirm the circumstances surrounding the accident. We are also focusing our efforts on supporting his family however we can, and we will offer counseling to his fellow miners."

The Voyager #7 mine is a two-section underground mine that opened in 2008. The mine is operated by Martin County Coal Corp. Martin County Coal is a former operation of Massey Energy Co., and was acquired along with other Massey Energy mining operations by Alpha Natural Resources in June.

Mr. Thatcher has worked at the mine for approximately 2-1/2 years and had more than six years' total mining experience.

About Alpha Natural Resources

Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) is one of America's premier coal suppliers with affiliate coal production capacity of 126 million tons a year.  Alpha is a leading supplier and exporter of metallurgical coal used in the steel-making process and is a major supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities and manufacturing industries across the country.  The company, through its affiliates, employs approximately 14,000 people and operates more than 150 mines and 40 coal preparation facilities in the regions of Northern and Central Appalachia and the Powder River Basin.  More information about Alpha can be found on the company's website at www.alphanr.com.  

SOURCE Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.

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