The records also show that West Virginia inspectors made Pocahontas Coal aware of other dangers in the mine before the fatalities.

Inspectors issued 31 violations between Jan. 1 and Feb. 5 for safety problems ranging from the accumulation of loose coal and damaged power cables to inadequate record-keeping, and violations of roof-control and ventilation plans.

Inspectors also issued violations for impaired visibility on shuttle cars, among other things.

Spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater said the company has been notified of all violations but no fines have yet been assessed.

Federal records show the Mine Safety and Health Administration had cited thee Affinity mine for some 65 violations since January, for everything from failure to maintain mine and escapeway maps to allowing combustible materials to accumulate.

In March 2012, MSHA listed the Affinity mine among three that had been caught giving illegal, advance warning that inspectors were onsite the month before. The practice lets miners and managers underground conceal potentially deadly conditions from inspectors.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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