Saturday, August 18, 2007

Coal is in the news..

.. but for all of the wrong reasons. Coal mining, in fact any kind of mining, has always been a dangerous occupation, and we owe a great deal to the people who are prepared to do it.

Coal fuelled the Industrial Revolution, and is still the primary fuel used in the generation of electricity. A small coal fired power station can generate far more power than any other type. It is the most efficient fuel, and there is a huge stock of coal around. The problem is getting to it and then extracting it.

Coal is formed by the laying down of forests, fallen trees gradually covered over and compressed. By the very nature of where trees grow and the fact that they need a substantial layer of topsoil, the levels at which coal is found tend not to be too secure. Coal seams are trapped between what was once a relatively loose surface, and the extraction of coal renders the surrounding material back to its loose state quite easily.

Accidents are all too common in mines around the world, the fate of the six miners and nine rescuers in Utah and the one hundred and seventy two presently trapped in a Chinese mine adding to a long list of brave souls who risk their lives daily such that our lives are more bearable.

Below is a link to the mining history of just one small corner, but it will give you an insight into the lives of miners. Please take the time to look through the site, read the poems and stories of the miners from South Wales (Britain), whose lives reflect the life of miners worldwide.

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