Coal

DISCOVERY CHANNEL – Wednesdays from 12 October, 9.30pm

This brand new series ventures hundreds of metres into the dark depths of the earth, exploring the workings of a modern coal mine. Viewers are introduced to men who toil in cramped spaces doing a job their fathers and grandfathers did before them. At any moment a pillar could collapse, the makeshift roof could cave-in, or trapped methane gas could cause a lethal explosion in the mine. Day in and day out, the job of a coal miner is one of the world’s most deadly and vital jobs around.

These miners work ten-hour shifts, often hunched over with the size of the mine limited to the size of the coal seam. Each episode features different members of the crew, from the guys who work at the face, the mine operator who does the actual drilling, the roof bolters who reinforce the ‘top’ after each cutting away of the coal, the buggy runners who haul away the load and the scoopers who pick up the excess. Then there are the brattice builders, who construct walls and partitions in tunnel passageways to force air into the work areas, the rock-dust machine operators, who spray the mine walls and floor to hold down dust which can interfere with breathing, and the shift bosses, who oversee the whole operation. A mining crew runs like a well-oiled machine that can’t risk a mistake.