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Mine on W.Va.-Pa. line to reopen Wednesday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Workers are planning to re-enter a mine straddling the Pennsylvania-West Virginia line on Wednesday for the first time since a fire led to its evacuation and shutdown March 12

CONSOL Energy Inc. says state and federal officials have given the company the green light to re-enter the Blacksville No. 2 mine, provided that atmospheric testing allows.

The mine was cleared when smoke began pouring from the Orndoff shaft in Wayne Township, Pa.

About 120 workers have been idled while crews pumped in water and nitrogen to extinguish the fire.

The fire was eventually snuffed, and the affected area was sealed off Sunday. CONSOL says atmospheric readings show that gas levels remain steady and oxygen levels continue to decrease.

Senior Vice President Chuck Shaynak said he's proud the incident was handled without any injuries. The effort involved not only CONSOL employees but also contractors, vendors, the United Mine Workers of America, and state and federal agencies.

The mine is a massive longwall operation that employs more than 500 workers. Pittsburgh-based CONSOL says it produces about 400,000 tons a month when operating normally.