King Coal

Mark & Valerie have an unusual (for us) show this week. Usually our shows are all about the music. This show is about the topic.  A couple of months ago Valerie was talking with fellow KKFI programmer Nightshade about Norman Blake and the song Last Train From Poor Valley.  One thing led to another and one of them said “hey wouldn’t it be fun to do a coal show?” and they sketched one out.

I am pleased to announce that Nightshade and Valerie will bring you ‘King Coal’ this Sunday at 11:00!  Valerie will provide the music and Nightshade will provide the context.

We’ll cover the history and process of coal mining, the lives of coal miners and their families, child labor, environmental disasters, mining accidents, the founding of the United Mine Workers union, and the closing of the pits, with mining songs ranging from Australia to the British Isles, the United States, and Canada.

About coal mining:

Coal is mined either through open-pit mining or deep mining.

Open-pit mining pit (also known as surface or strip. mining), is a surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth from an open-air pit, used when deposits of commercially useful ore or rocks are found near the surface. Open-pit coal mines usually last four or five years at extraction rates of up to a quarter-million tons a year.

Most coal seams are too deep underground for open-pit mining and require underground mining. In deep mining, excavation progresses along the coal seam, while coal pillars and timber are left standing to support the mine roof.  Once the coal seam runs out, miners remove the coal in the pillars, thereby recovering as much coal from the coal seam as possible. Deep mine ceilings have been as low as three feet.

Coal mining in the United Kingdom dates back to before Roman times and occurred in many different parts of the country. Coal production increased dramatically in the 19th century as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace.  Deep coal mining stopped completely in the UK at the end of 2015 and open-pit coal mining is in decline. Output has fallen every year since 2010 and the UK is planning to phase out the use of coal to produce electricity by 2024.

The first commercial use of coal in the United States came in 1701 in Virginia. Coal was the dominant power source in the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and although in rapid decline it remains a significant source of energy today and s lot of vcol trains roll through Kansas City. Coal provided more than half of the nation’s energy from the 1880s to the 1940s, and from 1906 to 1920 provided more than three-quarters of US energy.  Primary locations are Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.

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