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Virginia coal company agrees to $210M settlement for mine explosion

BRISTOL (AP) — Alpha Natural Resources says federal prosecutors have agreed to a $210 million settlement stemming from a West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers in 2010.

Under the settlement, Bristol-based Alpha would face no criminal charges in the Upper Big Branch explosion as long as it abides by the agreement’s terms.

The agreement required Alpha to compensate the miners’ families, bankroll cutting-edge safety improvements and pay for years of violations by the mine’s former owner, Massey Energy. Alpha acquired Massey in June 2011.

Alpha executive vice president and general counsel Vaughn Groves said in a news release that the company has met or exceeded its obligations.

Groves says steps taken by the company include establishment of a mine safety and health research foundation and construction of a state-of-the art training academy.

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