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FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2007
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Drummond mine closed for repairs after lightning strike sparks explosion

BIRMINMGHAM (AP) — A troubled Shoal Creek mine could be closed for repairs for several weeks after lightning caused an explosion that injured six people, including three who remained in critical condition Thursday.

The blast at Drummond Co.'s mine was only the latest in a series of problems at the site, which was closed much of last year after another accident.

"One of the miners said it must be an old Indian burial ground because it's jinxed," said union representative Daryl Dewberry. "They've had their share of problems there."

North Alabama is in an extreme drought, but a thunderstorm popped up Wednesday with lightning that struck near a rig where Shoal Creek workers were using a drill to bore a new shaft about 1,300 feet deep.

Dewberry said the charge ran down a cable into the mine, where it ignited methane that had been released by the drilling.

"It wasn't just a fire, it was an explosion," Dewberry said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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