An Era Is History as King Coal Nears Death

The British government all but shuts down a once mighty industry

COAL HAS LONG HELD A CENTRAL PLACE IN BRITISH life. It powered the 19th century Industrial Revolution, heated homes, generated electricity and even caused the fog in London. In 1913 more than 1 million miners worked in 3,265 pits in Britain. But that era is history. In a stunning move, British Coal announced that it is closing 31 collieries and laying off 30,000 workers. By March 1993, all that will remain of the once powerful and proud industry will be 19 working pits employing fewer than 20,000 miners.

British Coal argues that it was forced into the cuts because its best...

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