Small WV Coal Mine Will be Focus of Reality TV Show

By: VICKI SMITH and TIM HUBER - Associated Press Writers
By: VICKI SMITH and TIM HUBER - Associated Press Writers

Spike TV and a Canadian mining company are turning the reality television lens on West Virginia's coal industry.

The series "Coal" will start shooting in November at Cobalt Coal's underground Westchester mine in McDowell County.

But Gov. Joe Manchin, the United Mine Workers and others worry that shooting underground could be dangerous.

They also worry tiny Cobalt, with only two dozen employees, doesn't represent the reality of an industry dominated by corporate giants with thousands of workers and dozens of mines.

Cobalt president Thomas Roberts has worked underground more than 40 years. He says there's no reason to worry: TV crews will undergo 80 hours of mine safety training.

Spike did not immediately return phone calls Friday.

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