Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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State cites owner of Giles County mine where worker was killed last year

The state has cited the owner of the Giles County mine where a worker was killed in a slide last year.

Notices of violation were issued to Lhoist North America for defective equipment lighting, insufficient illumination of work areas, failure to ensure bank stability and not properly training employees, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Energy. The mine foreman also received a violation for not conducting a required workplace examination before the miners started work.

Stuart “Ray” Moore, 50, was using an excavator to remove lime kiln dust, a mining byproduct, from the company’s #1 mine in June 2022 when a large amount of the dust slid onto the area where he was working and buried him, according to state reports.

The investigation, which was conducted by the Virginia Department of Energy and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, determined that the way the lime kiln dust was being removed didn’t ensure slope stability as required by regulations, the release said. The work area was lit inadequately, which made it difficult to see any changes in the slope, and Moore was not properly trained for the work he was performing, the release said.

No fines were assessed, according to Virginia Energy spokeswoman Tarah Kesterson.

An employee at the Lhoist North America’s corporate office in Fort Worth, Texas, referred media inquiries to the company’s global headquarters in Belgium. No one responded Tuesday to a message sent through the company’s website.

The underground mine, which is located along Big Stony Creek, produced limestone used to make quicklime and hydrated lime, according to the news release. It began production in the late 1940s, and Lhoist bought it in 1999. The company decided in 2021 to begin work to close the mine, and no stone production has taken place there since that date.

The area where the slide occurred remains closed by order of the Virginia Department of Energy. No work can take place in that section of the mine until new plans are submitted and approved by the state; the company does not face a deadline for that, Kesterson said.

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5 Southwest Virginia localities approve resolutions supporting data center recruitment

Four counties and one city in Southwest Virginia are sending a message that they’re committed to recruiting data centers to the area.

The governing bodies of Lee, Scott, Wise and Dickenson counties and the city of Norton — members of the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority — each approved a resolution emphasizing their desire to attract these businesses and the jobs they would bring.

“We are thrilled to witness the proactive collaboration between the Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority members in promoting our region as a prime location for data centers,” said Duane Miller, executive director of the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission.

“These combined efforts reflect a shared commitment to fostering innovation, creating jobs, and boosting economic development. By leveraging our strengths and resources, we are confident that Southwest Virginia will become a hub for cutting-edge technologies and a driving force in the digital economy.”

Data centers have “immense potential” and play a pivotal role in the digital landscape, serving as critical infrastructure for the storage, processing and distribution of vast amounts of information, the release states. Southwest Virginia’s strategic location, reliable power supply and competitive cost structure make it an ideal location for data centers, according to the release.

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Carilion Clinic names new VPs

Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic has named two new vice presidents.

Tracy Clouser is Carilion’s new vice president of communications, marketing and planning. She joins Carilion from AdventHealth, where she served as assistant vice president of marketing and brand strategy for its West Florida Division.

Roger Roper was named vice president of family and community medicine and will direct operations of nearly 300 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in Carilion’s Family and Community Medicine department. He most recently was vice president of practice operations at Novocardia Health.

(Disclosure: Carilion is one of our approximately 2,500 donors, but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy.)

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SMR supply chain study gets $200,000 federal boost

The federal Economic Development Administration will provide $200,000 to help fund an initiative aimed at studying and developing a small modular nuclear reactor supply chain in Southwest Virginia.

The supply chain study was first announced in March by the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, alongside a plan to survey potential small modular nuclear reactor — or SMR — sites in the region.

The study is intended to identify the region’s existing industrial capabilities, workforce expertise and infrastructure readiness to support SMR manufacturing, assembly and transportation, according to a news release from the planning district commission. The study, which will be conducted over the next several months, has also received $50,000 in funding from GO Virginia.

SMRs are smaller, simpler versions of traditional nuclear reactors and would produce about a third of the power produced by the big reactors. In October, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced he planned to put an SMR in Southwest Virginia as part of his new energy plan within 10 years.

The SMR site study, which was released last month, identified seven potential sites and found that the region has the capabilities to be a “competitive hosting ground” for SMRs.