West Virginia Coal Mine Disasters – Legends of America (2022)

The Eccles mine disaster was an explosion of coal-seam methane on April 28, 1914, in Eccles, West Virginia. The explosion took the lives of at least 180 men and boys.

Coal mining in West Virginia has always been a risky profession, especially before 1920, when laws had not been created to improve and monitor mine safety. During those years, working as a coal miner was an extremely unhealthy and dangerous occupation.

Mining accidents occurred from a variety of causes, including leaks of poisonous gases such as hydrogen sulfide or explosive natural gases, especially firedamp or methane, dust explosions, collapsing of mine stopes, mining-induced earthquakes, flooding, and general mechanical errors from improperly used or malfunctioning mining equipment, such as safety lamps or electrical equipment. The use of improper explosives underground also could cause methane and coal dust explosions.

Fallen coal miner about 1920.

Other accidents occurred due to fire and smoke, cave-ins, snowslides, gas inhalation, and machinery/equipment failures such as cage falls, mine car and hoisting accidents, and others.

Once the miner was down to his working level, he contended with moving tram cars, steam lines, electric wiring, various types of machinery, and the heavy, hot, and massively vibrating drills. Supporting timber if poorly positioned, or if the wood became water-soaked and rotten, or with minor shifts in the earth’s crust, tons of rock would suddenly fall, trapping or crushing the miners.

Coal mines were often filled with odorless and tasteless methane gas. Canaries, birds that were sensitive to toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and methane, were used until the 1980s when handheld electronic detectors replaced them.

In general, early mine accidents were blamed on God or the carelessness of the miner. These attitudes on the part of the mine owners, the courts, and government agencies continued well into the 20th century.

Coal Mine Canary

In 1883 the West Virginia Legislature passed the first law regarding coal mining in the state. The law provided a qualified mine inspector to be appointed by the governor who appointed Oscar A. Veazey.

His job required him to prepare an annual report on the number of mines, employees, and a summary of his activities. It also required the reporting of all mine fatalities and the names of the victims, which was completed in 1883. The following year, Veazey proposed the first comprehensive mine safety laws.

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Since 1883, when fatality records began to be kept, more than 21,000 miners have lost their lives in the West Virginia coal mines. In the early years, most of these deaths were single fatalities, and many were not investigated. However, in 1883, when 20 miners lost their lives, the legislature established the West Virginia Department of Mines and appointed Oscar Veazey as the first mine inspector. That year the first Annual Report was prepared, and the following year, Veazey proposed the first comprehensive mine safety laws. However, nothing was enacted.

On January 21, 1886, West Virginia’s first significant mining accident occurred at the Mountain Brook mine in Newburg. The methane gas and dust explosion ignited by an open light killed 39 men and was classified as the first mining “disaster” in the state. This would be the first in a long line of “disasters” in the following years.

West Virginia Mine Safety Bulletins

In 1887, theLegislature passed the first significant mine safety laws; however, they were not published until 1897.

In the next decade, coal production increased from slightly more than two million tons in 1883 to more than 11 million tons by 1894. That year, the United Mine Works went on strike in West Virginia.

The next disaster occurred in Standard, West Virginia, on November 20, 1894. When coal was blasted using a dangerous method called “shooting from the solid,” meaning that they blasted the coal loose without first undercutting it, eight men lost their lives. Just two years earlier, three men had been killed there in the same manner.

By 1900, coal production had doubled to more than 22 million tons. The boom ushered in a period of great danger. Three months into the 20th century, a miner’s open light ignited methane gas at the Red Ash mine in Fayette County on March 6, 1900. The resulting explosion killed 46 men, many of whom were descendants of slaves, who had been lured from the South by the promise of good jobs.

In the early 1900s, over 18 months, a mine worker’s chance of being crushed, asphyxiated, burned, blasted, drowned, or similarly maimed or killed was more than 100%.

Monongah, West Virginia Mining Disaster.

In 1905 the West Virginia Department of Mines was created. Two years later, a Mining Commission was appointed to propose new legislation. These laws were printed in the languages of the miners the same year. Though the laws were to improve and monitor mine safety, disasters would continue to occur.

Part of the problem was recruiting unskilled workers, including immigrants, who had never worked in the mines.

On January 29, 1907, at the Stuart Mine in Fayette County, an explosion was caused when an open light ignited gas. Occurring after disregarding safety rules, the explosion killed 85 men, most of whom were unskilled workers.

Monongah, West Virginia Mining Disaster.

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On December 6, 1907, the Fairmont Coal Company’s interconnected Number 6 and 8 mines at Monongah exploded, killing 361 miners, the worst coal mining disaster in U.S. history. People could feel the impacts from the explosions as far as eight miles away. Some people and animals were violently thrown by the force of the event, and many buildings were destroyed. To this day, officials aren’t sure of the cause. Many believe an equipment spark may have ignited dust or gasses in the air. Of those killed, only 74 were classified as “Americans.”

The resulting public outcry brought Congressional action, culminating in creating the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910. However, it would not be quick enough.

In that year, the largest number of major mine disaster events occurred in the United States. At this time, the Pullman Company made the first mine rescue railroad cars for the U.S. Bureau of Mines. These cars were former Pullman sleeping cars that were remodeled. The chief work of the car personnelwas to investigate the cause of a mine disaster as quickly as possible, assist in the rescue of miners, and give first aid.

Mine Rescue Train Car

In the subsequent years, the cars continuously visited mining centers all over the nation to present demonstrations, lectures, and training. When a mine disaster occurred, the car was moved by a special locomotive or connected to the first train available.

In the first five years, 300 mine accidents, including explosions, fires, and cave-ins, were investigated, 230,000 attended lectures or demonstrations, 34,000 were given training in rescue and first-aid methods, and 11,700 training certificates were issued, increasing continuously from 509 in 1911 to 4,258 in 1915.

The second worst mine explosion in the state occurred on April 28, 1914, at the New River Collieries Company’s Number 5 mine in Eccles, West Virginia. The gas explosion occurred when a miner decided to eliminate a wall of coal to create a shortcut. However, the controlled explosion cut off ventilation to the mining areas, and an open flame headlamp or lantern ignited the buildup of methane gas, triggering a tremendous explosion. In the tragedy, 183 miners lost their lives, and many of the bodies were trapped in the rubble for four days.

Eccles No. 5 mine disaster on April 28, 1914.

Of the 4,260 miners killed in West Virginia between 1910 and 1920, 579 died in massive explosions and fires.

In the 1920s, new state and federal regulations and insistence for improved safety from the United Mine Workers began to create a safer environment. But disasters still occurred, some of them with significant losses of life. In 1924, the Benwood Mine in Marshall County exploded, killing 119. Three years later, the Federal No. 3 mine at Everettville blew up, killing 111.

On January 10, 1940, 91 died in a methane explosion at the Pond Creek No. 1 mine at Bartley, McDowell County, shattering any illusion that major mine disasters had become a thing of the past.

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In the 1950s, ten disasters were added to the terrible total. Notable among these were two explosions at the Pocahontas Fuel Company’s No. 35 mine in Bishop in 1957 and 1958, killing a total of 59 miners.

Burying the dead after the Benwood Mine Explosion.

In the early 1960s, fires, roof falls, and flooding took their toll, but it was nowhere near the numbers in previous years. For instance, a July 23, 1966 explosion at the Siltix Mine near Mount Hope killed seven miners, while 39 escaped.

But just two years later, another explosion occurred on November 20, 1968, when the vast Consolidated No. 9 mine at Farmington exploded, killing 78. Apparent that significant changes still needed to be made, Congress passed the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act in 1969. West Virginia also tightened its rules and regulations. These changes at the state and federal levels finally made a major change in coal mine safety and significantly reduced mine disasters.

On July 22, 1972, at the Blacksville No. 1 mine in Monongalia County, a fire occurred while a continuous mining machine was moved to a new working section. Nine men working deep in the mine perished due to smoke and fumes that carried through the mine’s ventilation system.

Dola Mine Disaster, 1963.

Twenty years later, on March 19, 1992, another disaster occurred at the Blacksville No. 1 Mine. By that time, the mine was closed was being sealed. When drainage pipes were welded together and placed into the production shaft, a spark fell into the shaft, igniting methane gas, and four miners were killed.

The last coal mining disaster occurred on April 5, 2010, at the Upper Big Branch Montcoal Eagle Mine in Naoma. The worst mine disaster in 40 years, the explosion killed 29 people.

To date, there have been 119 disasters at mines in West Virginia. Many more miners suffered disabling and lifelong injuries in nonfatal accidents.

Though the mining history in West Virginia is tragic, the state has furnished our nation and the world with the finest bituminous coal found anywhere. Today, thecoal industry exhibits a sense of responsibility – social, health, safety, and environmental – that is unmatched anywhere in the world.

There are more people killed in farming accidents in the U.S. today than in coal mining accidents.

West Virginia Coal Mine Disasters:

DateCompanyMineLocationAccident Type# of Victims
January 21, 1886Orrel Coal CompanyMountain BrookNewburgGas & Dust Explosion ignited by open light. This was classified as the first mining “disaster” in the state.39
November 20, 1894Blanch Coal Co.BlanchStandardExplosion8
March 06, 1900Red Ash Coal CompanyRed AshRed AshGas Explosion ignited by open light46
November 2, 1900SO. Coal & Transportation Co.BerryburgBerryburgPowder Explosion15
May 15, 1901George’s Creek Coal & Iron CoChathamFarmingtonExplosion10
September 15, 1902Algoma Coal and CokeAlgoma No. 7AlgomaExplosion17
September 22, 1902New Central Coal Co.StaffordStaffordExplosion6
February 26, 1905Grapevine Coal Co.GrapevineWilcoeExplosion7
March 19, 1905New River Smokeless Coal Co.Rush Run/Red AshRed AshExplosion24
April 20, 1905Cabin Creek Mining Co.Cabin CreekKayfordPowder Explosion6
July 05, 1905Tidewater Coal & Coke Co.TidewaterVivianExplosion5
November 04, 1905Tidewater Coal & Coke Co.TidewaterVivianExplosion7
December 04, 1905Cardiff Coal Co.HortonCabin CreekMine Fire7
January 04, 1906Coaldale Coal & Coke Co.CoaldaleCoaldaleExplosion22
January18, 1906Detroit & Kanawha Coal Co.DetroitPaint CreekExplosion18
February 08, 1906Stuart Colliery Co.ParralParralExplosion23
March 22, 1906Century Coal Co.CenturyCenturyExplosion23
December 14, 1906Pulaski Iron CoPulaskiEckmanPowder Explosion6
January 26, 1907LorentzLorentzPencoPowder Explosion12
January29, 1907Stuart Colliery Co.StuartStuartGas Explosion ignited by open light85
February 4, 1907Davis Coal & Coke Co.ThomasThomasExplosion25
May 01, 1907White Oak Fuel Co.WippleScarbroExplosion46
December 6, 1907Fairmont Coal Co.Monongah 6 & 8MonongahExplosion. This is the worst mining disaster in U.S. history.361
January 30, 1908New River Valley Coal Co.BackmanHawks NestExplosion9
December 29, 1908Pocahontas Colleries Co.Lick BranchSwitchbackDust explosion ignited by
excessive black powder
50
January 12, 1909Pocahontas Colleries Co.Lick BranchSwitchbackOvercharged shot ignited coal dust, causing an explosion.67
March 31, 1909Beury Brothers Coal Co.EchoBeuryDynamite Explosion16
December 31, 1910Red Jacket ConsolidatedLick ForkThackerHaulage10
April 24, 1911Davis Coal & Coke Co.OTT No. 20Elk GardenExplosion23
August 01, 1911Standard Pocahontas Fuel Co.StandardCaplesExplosion6
November 18, 1911Bottom Creek Coal & Coke Co.Bottom CreekVivianExplosion18
March 26, 1912Jed Coal & Coke Co.JedJedGas Explosion ignited by an open light.80
July 11, 1912Ben Franklin Coal Co.PanamaMoundsvilleExplosion8
April 28, 1914New River Collieries Co.Eccles No. 5 & 6EcclesGas Explosion ignited by an open light. It is the second-worst disaster in the state’s history.183
June 30, 1914Sycamore Coal Co.CinderellaCinderellaSuffocation5
February 6, 1915New River Co.CarlisleCarlisleExplosion22
March 2, 1915New River & Pocahontas Consolidated. Co.Layland No. 3LaylandGas Explosion ignited by an open light. Survivors included 47 men who were trapped underground for five days.112
March 30, 1915Hanna Coal Co.Boomer No. 2BoomerExplosion23
March 28, 1916King Coal Co.King No. 28VivianExplosion10
October 19, 1916Jamison Coal & Coke Co.Jamison No. 7BarrackvilleExplosion10
April 18, 1917Hutchinson Coal Co.LyndenMasonExplosion5
December 15, 1917Yukon Pocahontas Coal Co.Yukon No. 1SusannaExplosion18
May 20, 1918Mill Creek Cannel Mining Co.VillaCharlestonMine Fire13
July 18, 1919Houston Collieries Co.CarswellKimballExplosion7
August 6, 1919New River & Pocahontas ConsolidatedWeirwoodWeirwoodExplosion7
May 22, 1920Mallory Coal Co.Mallory No. 3MalloryRoof Fall5
September 23, 1922Raleigh-Wyoming Coal Co.Glen Rogers #2Glen RogersFalling Cage5
March 2, 1923Weyanoke Coal & Coke Co.AristaAristaExplosion10
November 06, 1923Raleigh-Wyoming Coal Co.Glen RogersBeckleyExplosion ignited by an arc from an electric drill27
March 28, 1924Yukon Pocahontas Coal Co.Yukon No. 2YukonGas Explosion ignited by open lights.24
April 28, 1924Wheeling Steel Corp.BenwoodBenwoodGas Explosion ignited by an open light.119
March 17, 1925Bethlehem Mines Corp.BarracksvilleBarracksvilleExplosion33
January 14, 1926Jamison Coal & Coke Co.Jamison No. 8FarmingtonExplosion19
March 8, 1926Crab Orchard Improvement Co.Eccles No. 5EcclesExplosion19
November 15, 1926Glendale Gas Coal Co.Mound ShaftMoundsvilleExplosion5
April 30, 1927New England Fuel & Trans. Co.Federal No. 3EverttvilleLocomotive ignited a gas explosion97
May 13, 1927Central Pocahontas Coal Co.Shannon Br. 3CapelsExplosion8
April 2, 1928Keystone Coal & Coke Co.Keystone No. 2KeystoneExplosion8
May 22, 1928Yukon Pocahontas Coal Co.Yukon No. 1YukonExplosion17
June 20, 1928National Fuel Co.No. 1NationalExplosion7
October 22, 1928Macalpin Coal CoMcCalpinMcCalpinExplosion6
November 30, 1928Princess Pocahontas Coal Corp.Princess PocahontasRoderfieldExplosion6
January 26, 1929Kingston Pocahontas Coal Co. Inc.Kingston No. 5KingstonExplosion14
January 19, 1930Lillybrook Coal Co.No. 1LillybrookExplosion8
March 26, 1930Crown Coal Co.YukonArnettsvilleExplosion12
January 6, 1931Raleigh-Wyoming Coal Co.Glen Rogers #2Glen RogersExplosion8
November 3, 1931Island Creek Coal Co.No. 20WhitmanExplosion5
May 12, 1935Bethlehem Mines Corp.No. 41BarracksvilleFire in Shaft6
September 2, 1936Hutchinson Coal Co.MacBethMacBethExplosion10
March 11, 1937Hutchinson Coal Co.MacBethMacBethExplosion18
January 10. 1940Pond Creek Pocahontas Coal Co.No. 1BartleyGas Explosion ignited by an electric arc.91
December 17, 1940Raleigh Coal & Coke Co.No. 4RaleighExplosion9
January 22, 1941Koppers Coal Co.CarswellCarswellExplosion6
May 12, 1942Christopher Coal Co.Christopher #3OsageGas Explosion ignited by arc in cutting machine
control box.
56
May 18, 1942Hitchman Coal & Coke Co.HitchmanBenwoodExplosion5
July 9, 1942Pursglove Coal Mining Co.Pursglove No. 2PursgloveExplosion20
December 15, 1942Wyatt Coal Co.Laing No. 1LaingRunaway Trip5
January 8, 1943Pursglove Coal Mining Co.Pursglove No. 15PursgloveMine Fire Suffocation13
November 8, 1943American Rolling Mill Co.Nellis No. 3NellisExplosion11
March 25, 1944Kathrine Coal Mining Co.Kathrine No. 4LumberportExplosion16
January 15, 1946New River & Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Co.Havaco No. 9HavacoExplosion15
August 6, 1948New River & Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Co.Berwind No. 11CapelsRoof Fall6
January 18, 1951Burning Springs Collieries Co.Burning SpringsKermitGas Explosion11
October 15, 1951Trotter Coal Co.BunkerCassvilleGas Explosion110
October 31, 1951Truax-Traer Coal Co.United No. 1WevacoDust Explosion12
November 13, 1954Jamison Coal & Coke Co.No. 9FarmingtonExplosion16
February 4, 1957Pocahontas Fuel Co.No. 35BishopGas Explosion37
December 9, 1957Raleigh-Wyoming Coal Co.Glen Rogers No.2Glen RogersMountain Bump5
December 27, 1957Pocahontas Fuel Co.No. 31AmonateGas Explosion11
February 12, 1958Amherst Coal Co.LundaleLundaleRoof Fall6
October 27, 1958Pocahontas Fuel Co.No. 35BishopGas Explosion22
October 28, 1958Oglebay Norton Coal Co.BurtonCraigsvilleGas Explosion14
March 8, 1960Island Creek Coal Co.No. 22HoldenMine Fire18
November 9, 1962Island Creek Coal Co.No. 28VerdunvilleHaulage3
April 25, 1963Clinchfield Coal Co.Compass No. 2DolaGas Explosion22
September 28, 1964Island Creek Coal Co.No. 6BartleyGas Explosion3
April 30, 1965Mountaineer Coal Co. (Division of Consolidation Coal Co.)Consolidation No. 9FarmingtonGas Explosion4
May 3, 1965Dorothy Coal Co.No. 1GarrisonRoof Fall3
October 16, 1965Clinchfield Coal Co.Mars No. 2SardisMine Fire7
July 23, 1966New River Co.SiltixMount HopeGas Explosion7
September 10, 1966Valley Camp CoalNo. 3TriadelphiaHaulage4
May 06, 1968Gauley Coal & Coke Co.No. 8Hominy FallsMine Inundation4
August 14, 1968Amherst Coal Co.Lundale No. 1LoganRoof Fall3
November 20, 1968Mountaineer Coal Co. (Division of Consolidation Coal Co.)No. 9FarmingtonExplosion78
December 12, 1968Buffalo Mining Co.No. 8BLyburnMine Fire3
June 11, 1971Eastern Associated Coal Corp.Federal No. 2FairviewRoof Fall3
July 22, 1972Consolidation Coal Co.BlacksvilleBlacksvilleMine Fire9
December 16, 1972Itmann Coal Co.Itmann No. 3ItmannGas Explosion5
October 02, 1974Cowin & Co. (Contractors)Maple Meadow MineFairdaleFalling Material3
October 07, 1974Monty Bros. Const. Co. (Contractor)Bolt SewellBoltFall in Shaft3
June 05, 1975Eastern Associated Coal Corp.Harris No. 2Bald KnobRib Fall3
November 26, 1975Bethlehem Mines Corp.No. 105CenturyRoof Fall3
November 07, 1980Westmorel & Coal Co.FerrellUneedaGas Explosion5
December 03, 1981Elk River Sewell Coal Co.Still House No. 1BergooRoof Fall3
February 06, 1986Consolidation Coal Co.Loveridge No. 22FairviewCoal Storage Entrapment5
March 19, 1992Consolidation Coal Co.Blacksville No. 1WanaExplosion In Shaft4
January 22, 2003Central Cambria Drilling Co. (Contractor)McCelroy MineGraysvilleExplosion in Shaft3
January 2, 2006Anker WV Mining Co., Inc.Sago MineTallmansvilleExplosion & Entrapment12
April 5, 2010Performance Coal Co.UBBMC Montcoal EagleNaomaExplosion29

©Kathy Weiser-Alexander/Legends of America, November 2021.

(Video) Young coal mine workers l Hidden America: Children of the Mountains PART 5/6

Also See:

Mining on the American Frontier

West Virginia Coal Mining

West Virginia Mine Wars

West Virginia – The Mountain State

Sources:

FAQs

Where was the largest coal mining accident in WV? ›

In West Virginia's Marion County, an explosion in a network of mines owned by the Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah kills 361 coal miners. It was the worst mining disaster in American history.

What caused the West Virginia coal wars? ›

The West Virginia coal wars (1912–1921), also known as the mine wars, arose out of a dispute between coal companies and miners. The first workers strike, in West Virginia, was the Cabin Creek and Paint Creek strike of 1912–1913.

How many people died in the WV mine wars? ›

At least 16 men died and many more were injured before the miners surrendered to federal troops in September 1921. Bloody conflicts in the mining industry in the early 20th century, known as the West Virginia Mine Wars, have been overlooked in public schools.

Who won the Battle of Blair Mountain? ›

What was the worst coal mining accident? ›

The Benxihu colliery disaster occured on 26 April 1942 in the Honkeiko coal mine, located near Benxi in the Liaoning province of China. It led to the deaths of 1,549 lives and is believed to be the worst coal mining disaster ever.

What was the deadliest year in mining history? ›

The Monongah mining disaster of Monongah, West Virginia occurred on December 6, 1907, and has been described as "the worst mining disaster in American history". 362 miners were killed.
...
Monongah mining disaster.
DateDecember 6, 1907
LocationMonongah, West Virginia
Coordinates39.4594°N 80.2158°W
CauseCoal mine fire
Casualties
2 more rows

Who secretly told the miners to continue to strike? ›

A powerful speaker and strategist, Lewis used the nation's dependence on coal to increase the wages and improve the safety of miners, even during several severe recessions. He masterminded a five-month strike, ensuring that the increase in wages gained during World War I would not be lost.

What is the deepest coal mine in West Virginia? ›

Hobet Coal Mine - Wikipedia.

Who won the Coal Wars? ›

This armed conflict pitched organized miners against detectives, policemen, and eventually, the United States Army. The result of the battle was a loss for the West Virginia miners, and the crushing of organized labor aspirations in the state. Miners would not be allowed to organize again until the 1930s.

How many coal miners have died in WV? ›

Since 1883, when fatality records began to be kept, more than 21,000 miners have lost their lives in West Virginia coal mines.

What is the pay of a typical West Virginia coal miner? ›

The average salary for a coal miner in West Virginia is $68,000 per year. Coal miner salaries in West Virginia can vary between $23,500 to $115,000 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.

How much did coal miners get paid in the 1900s? ›

Even miners who had been on the job for years rarely made more than a few dollars each week — one 1902 account claimed a daily salary of $1.60 for a ten-hour shift. Today, that would be about $4.50 an hour.

Were bombs dropped on Blair Mountain? ›

The miners' army was met at Blair Mountain by thousands of men who volunteered to fight with the Logan County sheriff, who was in the pay of the coal companies. Over 12 miles and five days, the sheriff's men fought the miners, strafing the hillsides with machine-gun fire and dropping homemade bombs from planes.

Who died at the Battle of Blair Mountain? ›

During a dawn patrol, Wilburn and four other men encountered three of Chafin's deputy sheriffs including John Gore, an infamous mine guard in Logan County. In the gun battle that ensued, the miners shot and wounded Gore who then shot and killed miner Eli Kemp.

How many people died in the Colorado Coalfield war? ›

The Colorado Coalfield War produced a total death toll of approximately 75. The United Mine Workers of America finally ran out of money, and called off the strike on December 10, 1914. In the end, the strikers' demands were not met, the union did not obtain recognition, and many striking workers were replaced.

What catastrophe occurred in West Virginia in 1968 that lead to the creation of the Occupational safety and Health Act? ›

On November 20, 1968, a catastrophic explosion rocked the Consol No. 9 coal mine outside of Farmington, West Virginia. Seventy-eight miners perished in that accident.

Is mine 9 based on a true story? ›

Inspired by true events, the movie is about a crew of nine men working in an underground mine in Appalachia when things go wrong. “It's not based on any one event, but based on several that have happened over time,” said Kevin Sizemore, a Princeton, West Virginia native who stars in the movie.

What is the deepest mine in the world? ›

AngloGold Ashanti's Mponeng gold mine, located south-west of Johannesburg in South Africa, is currently the deepest mine in the world. The operating depth at Mponeng mine ranged from between 3.16km to 3.84km below the surface by the end of 2018.

When was the last coal mine disaster? ›

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released its final report on December 6, 2011, concluding that flagrant safety violations contributed to the explosion.
...
Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.
DateApril 5, 2010
LocationRaleigh County, West Virginia at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine located in Montcoal
Casualties
4 more rows

Will coal dust explode? ›

Likewise, fine particles of coal dust in the right concentration that contact a source of heat can also be explosive. Hybrid explosions consisting of a combination of methane and coal dust can also occur.

How many people died in mines every year? ›

Of the 377 deaths, 129 occurred in 2017 alone. As many as 145 died in 2016, while the figure was 103 in 2015. Coal mines have accounted for the highest number of casualties due to accidents in mines. Of the 377, more than half, 210, were killed in coal mines.

What year was the 3 day week? ›

What happened in Matewan West Virginia? ›

The coal town of Matewan in southern West Virginia's Mingo County was the site of a bloody conflict that resulted in the deaths of local lawmen and Baldwin Felts Detectives. Sid Hatfield was the Sheriff of Matewan, West Virginia from 1919 until his death in 1921.

How did the coal wars end? ›

Timeline
September 23, 1913After their demands are ignored, 9,000 coal miners in Colorado begin striking and violence erupts.
April 28, 1914President Wilson orders federal troops to Colorado. Both sides are forced to disarm and violence ends.
December 1914Strike officially ends. Coal miners are defeated.
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13 Jul 2022

What are 5 active coal mines in West Virginia? ›

DOBRA CAMP (Boone) Boone County Coal Corporation GARRISON (Boone) Webb Coal Mining Co. GORDON (Boone) Detroit Mining Co. GREENVIEW (Boone) Valco Coal Co.

Who owns the coal mines in WV? ›

There are 23 coal mining sites run by Massey Energy. There are sixteen sites located in West Virginia, five in Kentucky, and one in Virginia.

Is coal mining still done in West Virginia? ›

A still producing Mountain Top Removal Mine in Lincoln County, West Virginia. Coal has been “king” for most of the last century in West Virginia and central Appalachia, but in recent years, global market forces, governmental regulations and alternative energy sources like natural gas have reduced its dominance.

When was the 1st coal mine in WV? ›

Coal is reported to have been mined as early as 1810 when a mine was operated near Wheeling, in the northern panhandle. The growth of the salt industry led to the opening of mines to supply furnace fuel during the 1820's and 1830's. The other coal fields in the state began to develop in the following two decades.

What happened to coal miners in the 1920s? ›

The 1920 Alabama coal strike, or the Alabama miners' strike, was a statewide strike of the United Mine Workers of America against coal mine operators. The strike was marked by racial violence, and ended in significant defeat for the union and organized labor in Alabama.

What was life like as a coal miner? ›

The coal miners life was a hard one. They worked long hours for low wages. The potential dangers were always there for them and their families. This created close comradeship and tight knit mining communities.

Who or what caused the Upper Big Branch mine disaster and why do you think so? ›

A sudden inundation of natural gas triggered the April 5, 2010, explosion that killed 29 workers at the Upper Big Branch Mine, according to a documentary commissioned by former Massey Energy Co. CEO Don Blankenship.

How many people have died from coal mining? ›

In 2020 there were five occupational fatalities in the United States coal mining industry, among 63,612 U.S. coal miners. In 1910, this figure was much higher, with 2,821 coal mining deaths reported in the U.S. that year.

Where is the Upper Big Branch mine? ›

Upper Big Branch Mine-South is an underground coal mining operation in Raleigh County, West Virginia, operated by Performance Coal and owned by Massey Energy. On April 5, 2010, an explosion at the mine killed 29 miners, with two hospitalized.

What is the average life expectancy of a coal miner? ›

The average life expectancy in the coal mines for those starting work at 15 y was found to be 58.91 y and 49.23 y for surface and underground workers respectively.

How many hours do coal miners work a day? ›

Some head down before sunrise and return anywhere from seven to 12 hours later. Curtis Burton, 42, said at Cumberland Mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania, there are three eight-hour shifts, but each one ends up taking 10 hours, because of the two hours it takes to get to the site before miners can get to work.

What is the highest paid job in America? ›

Highest-Paying Careers
RankOccupation2021 Median Wages
Employment column two Annual
1Obstetricians and Gynecologists$208,000+
1Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric$208,000+
1Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons$208,000+
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When did children stop working in mines? ›

What Jobs did Children do Underground? On 4 August 1842, a law was passed that stopped women and children under ten years from working underground in mines in Britain. Before this law was passed, it was common for whole families to work together underground to earn enough money for the family to live on.

What hours did miners work? ›

Miners worked twelve-hour days, working in an area no taller than the height of the seam which was often less than 60cm and lit by a single candle. Most workers started their shifts between 5am and 6am and worked a twelve-hour day.

What did coal miners wear? ›

The men are wearing dark work shirts, pants, and leather boots. Men and women in the mining camps of Colorado mostly wore the kind of clothes they had worn back home. Women wore print dresses, aprons, and bonnets. Men wore work shirts and pants.

When was the last coal mine disaster? ›

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released its final report on December 6, 2011, concluding that flagrant safety violations contributed to the explosion.
...
Upper Big Branch Mine disaster.
DateApril 5, 2010
LocationRaleigh County, West Virginia at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine located in Montcoal
Casualties
4 more rows

Where is coal mined in West Virginia? ›

In the 21st century, West Virginia is the second-largest coal producer in the nation, after Wyoming. The state is also the largest producer of bituminous coal. Coal deposits underlie all but two counties, both of which are located in the state's eastern panhandle.

Who owns coal mines in West Virginia? ›

There are 23 coal mining sites run by Massey Energy. There are sixteen sites located in West Virginia, five in Kentucky, and one in Virginia.

When did coal mining start in West Virginia? ›

Coal is reported to have been mined as early as 1810 when a mine was operated near Wheeling, in the northern panhandle. The growth of the salt industry led to the opening of mines to supply furnace fuel during the 1820's and 1830's. The other coal fields in the state began to develop in the following two decades.

Where is the deepest mine in the world? ›

AngloGold Ashanti's Mponeng gold mine, located south-west of Johannesburg in South Africa, is currently the deepest mine in the world. The operating depth at Mponeng mine ranged from between 3.16km to 3.84km below the surface by the end of 2018.

What catastrophe occurred in West Virginia in 1968 that lead to the creation of the Occupational safety and Health Act? ›

On November 20, 1968, a catastrophic explosion rocked the Consol No. 9 coal mine outside of Farmington, West Virginia. Seventy-eight miners perished in that accident.

Is mine 9 based on a true story? ›

Inspired by true events, the movie is about a crew of nine men working in an underground mine in Appalachia when things go wrong. “It's not based on any one event, but based on several that have happened over time,” said Kevin Sizemore, a Princeton, West Virginia native who stars in the movie.

What is the biggest coal mine in West Virginia? ›

Hobet Coal Mine - Wikipedia.

How many years of coal is left in the US? ›

The United States has proven reserves equivalent to 347.7 times its annual consumption. This means it has about 348 years of Coal left (at current consumption levels and excluding unproven reserves).

What is the average salary of a coal miner in West Virginia? ›

What is the average salary for a coal miner in West Virginia? The average salary for a coal miner in West Virginia is $68,000 per year. Coal miner salaries in West Virginia can vary between $23,500 to $115,000 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.

What is the average life expectancy of a coal miner? ›

The average life expectancy in the coal mines for those starting work at 15 y was found to be 58.91 y and 49.23 y for surface and underground workers respectively.

Where is the biggest coal mine in the US? ›

The Black Thunder Coal Mine is a surface coal mine in the U.S. state of Wyoming, located in the Powder River Basin which contains one of the largest deposits of coal in the world.
...
Black Thunder Coal Mine.
Location
CountryUnited States
Coordinates43°40′N 105°18′W
Production
ProductsCoal
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What state has the most coal mines? ›

Wyoming, the largest coal-producing state in the United States, produced 41% of total U.S. coal production and 71% of the coal mined in the Western coal region. Eight of the top ten largest U.S. coal-producing mines were in Wyoming, and all of those mines are surface mines.

What are 5 active coal mines in West Virginia? ›

DOBRA CAMP (Boone) Boone County Coal Corporation GARRISON (Boone) Webb Coal Mining Co. GORDON (Boone) Detroit Mining Co. GREENVIEW (Boone) Valco Coal Co.

Where was coal first discovered in West Virginia? ›

In 1742, John Peter Salley took an exploratory trip across the Allegheny Mountains and reported an outcropping of coal along a tributary of the Kanawha River. He and his companions named this tributary the Coal River, and his report became the first reference to coal in what is today West Virginia.

What is West Virginia known for? ›

Located in the Appalachian region, West Virginia has some of the most rugged land in the country. The state's rolling mountains, hills and valleys earned it the nickname of The Mountain State, and it is well-known for its range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, skiing and whitewater rafting.

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