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A Miner Life

Buckingham Coal Company, the last coal mine of Athens County opens its doors to show the inner works of a modern coal mine.

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Mike Brooks:

Is a kind of peace, you are not around the traffic of the general city I should say. It’s actually I take it as safe as being on the surface.

Randy Cooper:

The air does have a certain quality to it that is kind of different because that air is being pulled into from outside and into the mineshafts. Its kind of an organic kind of smell that is damp and a little bit musty. It’s very different. It makes you feel very familiar, I’m always nostalgic for that, and I love the smell of the coalmine. I’ve spent so many years underground. I do miss it.

Mike Brooks:

We’re probably 300 foot from normal elevation to the bottom where we hit the coal seem and we go underground about 2 miles.

Randy Cooper:

When you are walking through a coalmine, your best friend is your cap light. You can see the uneven flooring so you don’t have any issues with tripping stumbling or falling. But if you loose your cap light, believe me it is pitch, pitch dark. And you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Without really knowing exactly where you are you’d be just groping around in the dark. Oh I’d be scared. Because trying to find primary escape way and lifeline to follow your way out of the mine. But usually you have your crew with you and there is someone close by.

Mike Brooks:

Everyone we work with is great people and everybody looks out for each individual. Even though there maybe miner accidents, but we are very fortunate here that our accident rate is below the national average. There is a sense of security, I mean there no one to come and get me underground, right? They don’t want to go there. With everything that is going on the surface today with crime I know I’m safe underground. Sounds kind of strange doesn’t it?

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A Miner Life