Despite federal efforts to ensure safe working conditions for miners, they have one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs you can imagine. To recognize their efforts, Congress has declared December 6 National Miners Day. Why? Our entire economy depends on them. On this holiday, we should all take a moment to think about the many ways that miners play a role in our daily lives. Mined materials contribute to things like roads, houses, cars and computers. We wouldn’t be able to get much done without their hard work.
National Miners Day - History
November 4, 2009
National Miners Day began
Congress designated National Miners Day a national holiday "in appreciation, honor, and remembrance of the accomplishments and sacrifices of the miners of the nation."
December 6, 1907
The Monongah mining disaster
An explosion in Monongah, West Virginia triggered the worst mining disaster in American history.
The demand for iron increased drastically. Knights needed it to create their armor, weapons, horseshoes and other gear.
Rich history in Egypt
Gold mining took off in the predynastic era. Egypt became a major gold producer in the region for the next 1,500 years.
How to Observe National Miners Day
1. Learn about miners and what they do
The Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration develops videos and blog posts to shine light on this occupation. Discover all that miners accomplish.
2. Visit a local mine if you can
Whether it's quartz in Massachusetts or gold in California, find out what miners are working on in your state. You may be surprised!
3. Take a look around you
Think about all of the daily luxuries we have that depend on mining. From our cell phones, to the pots and pans we cook with, so much depends on America's miners.
5 Films About Miners And Mining
1. "Harlan County, USA" (1976)
This documentary uncovers the violent strike between miners and owners in rural Kentucky.
2. "The Miners' Hymns" (2010)
This story shows the tough life of working in the pit, the role of trade unions, and how labor-based professions struggle in a corporate-ruled economy.
3. "The Pennsylvania Miners' Story" (2002)
Based on a true story, watch nine miners struggle for survival after being trapped underground.
4. "Little Accidents" (2014)
This drama begins with a deadly mining accident and unfolds in a series of unfortunate circumstances for the miners and their families.
5. "North Country" (2005)
A single mother — and one of the first women at an iron mine in Minnesota — Josey Aimes (played by Charlize Theron), depicts the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry and goes on to file a landmark sexual harassment suit.
Why National Miners Day is Important
A. Miners are important in our lives
Miners extract our natural resources — literally making it possible for us to enjoy the comforts of modern life. They have a challenging job, so let's take some time to think about all they do.
B. Mining's vital to the U.S. economy
America's one of the world’s largest producers (and consumers) of mineral products. For example, the U.S. produces huge quantities of coal, iron ore, copper, phosphate rock, and zinc. The economic opportunities and wealth generated by mining are substantial.
C. Miners deal with daily hazards
It's not easy! Potential dangers for coal miners include suffocation, gas poisoning, roof collapse, rock burst, and gas explosions.