FEW will need reminding just how dangerous a job mining really is.
But a serious of accidents – one ending in triumph and another in tragedy – have brought that home to everyone through our TV screens.
Ultimately, the saga in Chile that we all witnessed unfolding daily had a happy ending with 33 miners being brought alive to the surface after being trapped underground for more than two months.
But the worldwide euphoria that greeted their survival was dealt a harsh blow late last year when news came of a fresh mining accident, this time in New Zealand where 29 miners died.
Yesterday, a community much nearer home mourned the loss of another miner, this time one working in a place long closed for the purposes of retrieving coal.
The miner was working to extend an underground roadway at the National Coal Mining Museum. His loss will make many remember the man and the toughness of an industry that has contributed so much to the lives of others. It remains a hazardous industry even in 2011.