Former coal exec to be nominated as MSHA head

By |  September 5, 2017

President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate David Zatezalo, a former coal executive, to be the assistant secretary of labor at the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA).

The announcement is a disappointing development for the aggregate industry, which was lobbying for a representative from its sector to be nominated for the MSHA post.

According to the White House, Zatezalo served as chairman of Rhino Resources until his retirement in 2014. He had previously served as the company’s president and CEO and was previously COO of Rhino, as well as president of Hopedale Mining LLC.

Zatezalo began his mining career in 1974 with Consolidation Coal Co. as a United Mine Workers of America laborer. He became a foreman and subsequently general superintendent for Southern Ohio Coal Co. and general manager of AEP’s Windsor Coal Co. He later rose to be vice president of operations of AEP’s Appalachian mining operations, the White House says.

In addition, Zatezalo worked in Australia for Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd. as a general mine manager. He is a mining engineering graduate from West Virginia University, where he received the 1977 West Virginia University Student Foundation Merit Award.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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