Bob Murray, former owner of notorious Crandall Canyon Mine dead at 80

Bob Murray Dead at 80
Robert Murray, former owner of the Crandall Canyon Mine in Carbon County talks to the media during rescue operations at the site of August 2007 mine collapse which claimed the lives of six miners and three rescuers. Image: POOL FEED

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio, Oct. 26, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Robert Murray, former owner of Utah’s infamous Crandall Canyon Mine, has died at age 80.

The flamboyant, often controversial founder and CEO of the coal mining conglomerate Murray Energy, passed away at his home Sunday in St. Clairsville, Ohio surrounded by his family. No cause of death was given although Murray was known to have recently applied for black lung benefits.

Murray was thrust into the Utah limelight in the immediate aftermath the August 6, 2007 mine collapse of the Crandall Canyon Mine in Carbon County. Six miners were trapped and died in the initial accident, and three rescuers, including a mine safety inspector, were killed during a second collapse 10 days later.

An investigation by the Federal Mining Safety and Review Commission resulted in 20 enforcement actions for violations of the 1977 Federal Mine Safety and Health Act — violations Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith called failures resulting in “the needless deaths of nine.”

Murray Energy was initially fined $1.639 million by the federal government for “flagrant” safety violations. The violations were later determined to be “moderate” and the fines reduced to just under $650,000.

In addition to paying the government fine, Murray Energy settled wrongful death lawsuits with the victims’ families in 2009, the terms of which remain confidential.

Murray strongly denied any wrongdoing in the disaster despite reaching the settlements in the case.

Operations at the deadly mine were shut down and never resumed. The shaft was sealed and the six miners entombed.

“The mine is going to be sealed and closed,” Murray said. “It’s a deadly mountain and I’m not going near it.”

Murray’s had been in frail health in recent years. He was reliant on a portable oxygen supply which he carried in public.

In September 2020, Murray Energy emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy under the name American Consolidates Natural Resources Inc., the largest coal mining operation in the U.S. with mines in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama and Utah.

Murray retired from the newly formed company just one week ago citing health issues.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here