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Worker killed in Alaska gold mining accident

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A worker at the Kensington Gold Mine in Alaska was killed in an accident on the job on Monday morning, the mine's owner said.

A spokesman for the mine's parent company, Idaho-based Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., said the miner was underground at the time of the fatal mishap but gave no further details.

"It was while he was working, and he was the only person that was hurt," said the spokesman, Tony Ebersole. No one else was involved, he said. The company has not yet released the worker's name.

The Kensington mine, located about 45 miles north of Juneau, the state capital, began production in June of 2009. There are more than 200 workers employed at the mine, which produces about 120,000 ounces of gold a year, Ebersole said.

Mining deaths are not uncommon in the United States, though such accidents are currently on the decline. The Kensington accident is the second mining death this year for Alaska. A worker at the Fort Knox open-pit gold mine near Fairbanks was killed in a fall in June.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration tallied 14 U.S. mine deaths during the first half of this year, eight of them in coal mines, an all-time mid-year low, the agency said.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)

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