"The long wall coal face that my father worked on measured one yard high (almost 1m) and 200 yards long (183m). The coal was first undercut by an electric coal cutting machine to a depth of six feet (almost 2m). The driller followed the cutter drilling 4cm holes at a depth of 2m about 2m apart along the length of the face. The shot firer followed inserting sticks of explosives and detonators into the holes, wiring them up to his battery, clearing the face by calling "There's fire!" then blasting the coal down. The fillers (my fathers job) then shovelled the coal onto the conveyor belt that ran the length of the coal face.
His stint completed, the driller would take the blunted drill bits to the surface to be sharpened ready for his next shift." - Bob Olley
Robert Olley Artwork ©