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Mine Explosion Rocks New Public Company

Situation overview:

Shortly after a newly formed public company acquired multiple coal mines, a major underground explosion rocked one of the mines, trapping a dozen miners. The accident attracted a flood of media attention for several weeks while the search for the trapped miners intensified. Senior management drew significant scrutiny from state and federal regulators and the company's stock plummeted as the public and national elected officials demanded someone be held accountable for the explosion.   

PROI member Role:

A  PROI Worldwide Americas Crisis Group partner worked closely with the company, external legal counsel and government relations professionals for several months. Communications efforts included:

  • Working with senior management onsite to organize a Crisis Management Team to support response and recovery operations;
  • Managing media relations, including establishing a system for logging and responding to all media inquiries (more than 1,000), and scheduling all news briefings to coincide with daily news cycles;
  • Coordinating communications with the governor's office, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and other regulators and elected officials;
  • Developing and leveraging media relationships;
  • Working closely with legal counsel to develop messaging and collateral materials such as testimony and Q&As; and
  • Providing frequent communications and consistent messaging to investors and analysts concerned about the company's ability to withstand the crisis.


The comprehensive communications processes established by our partner helped to address media inquiries in a timely manner and proactively spread the company's messages. Overall media coverage was balanced and the company's stock value made a full recovery. MSHA ruled the cause of the explosion a lightning strike, and the company's CEO was dismissed from further Congressional hearings.