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Colo. miner is 11th coal fatality of 2017

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has reported the 11th mining fatality of the year, which occurred in a Colorado mine.

The death occurred Aug. 2 at Deseret Generation and Transmission Co-operative's Deserado mine in Rio Blanco County, Colo., operated by Blue Mountain Energy Inc.

"Preliminary information indicates the victim, a surface mechanic, was working alone and failed to report at the end of his shift," MSHA spokesperson Amy Louviere said. "The operator located him at 1:30 a.m., under a trough, which weighed approximately 2 tons."

She said that the accident occurred in the prep plant associated with the underground mine and that an inspector and investigator are at the mine.

According to MSHA, the mine produced 578,102 tons of coal in the second quarter of 2017.

The agency is seeking to determine the reasons behind an uptick in mine fatalities this year.