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Safety systems and procedures are in play in Montana as mining remains on hold at the underground Signal Peak coal mine south of Roundup as workers attempt to lower concentrations of a dangerous gas in a sealed-off area.

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) agency engineers are due at the mine near Roundup to evaluate its ventilation system, said Amy Louviere spokesperson for the agency.

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Since last week, workers have been pumping nitrogen into a previously-mined area where they found high levels of carbon monoxide, prompting the removal of about 45 workers.

A company spokesman said weekly readings found elevated levels of the dangerous gas about one and a half miles from where crews were working. Crews are pumping nitrogen into that area through a drilled hole.

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An MSHA spokesperson said they are casing a second drill hole now and could allow crews to drop a camera into the underground mine to find a source of the carbon monoxide.

Signal Peak spokesman Mike Dawson says work above ground is continuing and there should be no layoffs among the mine’s 300 workers. He says there is no projection for when mining will resume.

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