The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has approved a new longwall operating plan at Tower Mine, which owner Murray Energy shut down Aug. 27, idling 170 miners, citing safety concerns. "The plan requires the retrofit of about 40 shields, among other items," MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere said Wednesday.

MSHA administrator Kevin Stricklin told the Deseret Morning News previously he wanted to see more separation between men and machines. Implementing the new mining plan is likely to take until after the first of the year. "When that work is complete, production can resume," she said.