The Associated Press November 30, 2011, 10:55AM ET

Feds issue final report on W.Va. mine blast Dec. 6

Federal investigators will soon release their final report on the 2010 explosion that killed 29 men at West Virginia's Upper Big Branch coal mine.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says it will brief the victims' families and the media Dec.6 in Beaver.

The mine was run by Massey Energy but is now owned by Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources.

MSHA, the United Mine Workers and an independent panel all agree what caused the blast.

They say poorly maintained machines cutting into sandstone created a spark. That ignited both a small amount of naturally occurring methane gas and a massive accumulation of explosive coal dust.

Malfunctioning water sprayers allowed what could have been a small flare-up to become an epic blast.

MSHA is likely to cite Massey for violations that contributed.


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