McClure #1 Mine about 30 years ago. One of the deepest, largest, and most dangerous mines in the country.Known as a 'Hot" mine- This mine released over 3 million cubic yards of explosive methane gas per day. It had at least 1 fatality per year for every year it was open. In 1983 it made national news when it exploded and 7 were killed including the first woman killed in a mining disaster.
What you are seeing in this footage is a massive "Long-wall" machine which sheers off a shelf of coal sometimes up to 2,000 feet long at a time. The Hydraulic Jacks or 'Shields" which are constantly adjusted support the roof of this part of the mine as the machine advances. Unlike a traditional "pillar' mine, in which tunnels are cut in a honeycomb fashion, by a 'continuous miner, a longwall has cutting wheels on both ends and goes back and forth and removes football fields in a single shift. Another difference id the roof in the area already mined (Gob) is allowed to collapse, which causes subsidence of everything above ground-streams disappear and divert underground, foundations of buildings collapse, cracks and sinkholes swallow farm animals and wildlife.
My cousin gave me this rare, never-before seen footage ten years ago, hoping I could use it to show people the brutality of coal mining-underground, particularly Long-Wall mines is not much better than blasting off mountaintops. It still produces acid mine runoff, in addition to surface subsidence, it is extremely dangerous-the workers are wearing no breathing protection, nor ear protection, they are surrounded by dangers of electrocution, rock falls, explosions, being crushed to death, being ground up like meat, and a dozen other ways to die in a mine...The Upper Big Branch Mine explosion (2010) was a Long-Wall mine and the deadliest since this mine blew in 1983.
All forms of American Coal Mining are deadly, destructive, and unacceptable in the 21st century to have an average of 180 fatalities in our mines per year! In Germany they have ZERO fatalities, and almost zero impact on property and the environment-Makes you wonder what the difference is between here and there???
I included it in a documentary film in 2007, which was submitted to several regional groups, along with a paper that received an invite to a conference at a University in the Carolinas...I suppose it got shelved and forgotten. Well here it is on YouTube for all the world to see.