2 workers die in accident at Warren County pit mine

Here's a look at the kaolin and bauxite mining industry in the Wrens area.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 2:58 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 4:33 PM EST
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WRENS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Two employees were killed Friday in an accident at a mine in Warren County, the coroner said.

According to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, the two died in an electrical accident that happened at 6:33 a.m. at the Piedmont Mining operation that produces kaolin and bauxite at a quarry-like open-pit operation in Warren County outside Wrens.

Coroner Paul M. Lowe said they were identified as Charquavian Bloodsaw, 24, and Damian Ashberry, 25.

The federal agency is investigating the accident, and Piedmont Mining is fully cooperating with that investigation, the company said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of the two individuals who have died as a result of this tragic accident,” the company said in a statement.

Piedmont Mining Human Resources Manager Stephanie Taylor Harrison said an incident like this is devastating to co-workers.

“We spent time today with their personal families and work families, and we’re trying to be there to support everyone and provide the support that we can,” she said Friday.

She said while there are accidents in the industry, “We’ve been in business for 31 years now, and nothing of this magnitude has ever happened to us.”

It was the industry’s first electrical fatality since before 2019, according to the federal agency. Here’s a look at recent fatality numbers from the mining industry:

U.S. mining fatalities
U.S. mining fatalities(Contributed)

The company said it was committed to learning how the accident happened.

“We’re doing everything that we can to prevent something like this from happening in the future,” Harrison said.

She said the company has 300 employees spread out over five states, and its operations in the Wrens region include 10 pits that produce kaolin and bauxite. The hard materials are used in a variety of household products, particularly porcelain-based fixtures like toilets but also brick and concrete.