Stunning photos show what it's really like to work deep underground in an American coal mine

Business Insider | 4/28/2016 | James Pasley
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In the US, coal mining is a shrinking industry. In 1923, there were about 883,000 coal miners; today there are about 53,000.

Working in coal mines is dangerous — miners have to deal with toxic gases, plus the threat of being crushed, drowned, or injured from fires and explosions.

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Some miners love it. It can be a family tradition, it's exciting, and the pay is usually pretty good. When a mine closes, miners would often rather work in another mine elsewhere than retrain.

Curtis Burton, a 42-year-old coal miner, who spent 17 years working in mines, told Business Insider what the job is like.

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Coal mining is dark, dirty, and dangerous work.

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It's not for everyone — it's for the few who love to descend into the bowels of the Earth to extract "black gold." Even as they face the risk of mines collapsing, or catching on fire,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Business Insider
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