KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT)- Many, if not most, coal mines have closed here in the mountains in recent years.
However, some believe we may be seeing a resurgence.
As more coal dumps into the back of trucks and railcars, so does optimism.
Kingdom Coal Mine opened in February of this year, after shutting down last July. The mine is now producing coal.
With the reopening of coal, officials said safety is their number one priority.
Coal miners and officials said mine safety has changed since the early 2000’s. Miners carry breathing equipment or rescuers on them at all times.
We learned about the locations of where other rescuers are in the event of an explosion.
Rock dust is sprayed throughout the mine as a dust, explosive and fire control.
Miners said they are less worried about mine accidents and even getting black lung.
"The mines are ‘ten to one’ better than what they were years ago," said "Swamp", a miner for 40 years.
"It means everything, whenever you can look up, when a miner is cutting, to actually see the drums turning,” said Michael Eldridge, General Mine Foreman. “You can’t see the dust in the air, that’s what it’s all about."
Right now, Kingdom Coal Mine employs around 23 people.
Officials said they hope to add another shift at the mine by July, adding around 10 jobs.
Next week, we will have a full story on the reopening of Kingdom Coal mine and its economic impact.