Coal Episode 6 Recap: Records Were Broken

April 21, 2011
This week's episode of Coal marked a new era for the Cobalt miners, but only after CEO Mike Crowder had to face some tough decisions. With all new episodes of Coal airing at its new time, Sundays at 8PM/7c, let's see how things cut on this week's episode, "Out With The Coal, And In With The New."

The miners knew it was going to be a tough day from the start as Cobalt President, Tom Roberts, made a point to pull his miners aside first thing in the morning and offer up a safety meeting. As the miners made it deeper into the mountain, the closer they were coming to the valley lying above. The danger in working under a valley is that the thinner the top, the more unstable the roof of the mine. Even with some of the best roof bolters in the West Virginia, it was time to be careful.

Once Day Shift was inside the mine, the real problem they faced came from an unexpected source: the continuous miner. When the miner blew a torque shaft, the miner man himself, Andy Christian, had to come to the rescue in an effort to repair the essential mining tool. Problem was it took two hours to fix it, leaving the Day Shift to close their day with only four of the necessary seven cuts accomplished, breaking even.

As the Night Shift took over in the evening and Randy Remines sat behind the repaired miner, Red Hat Jeremy Marushia was left to do some maintenance work around the office; sweeping up and cleaning the dressing room. Having been with Cobalt for only four weeks, Marushia still has five months left until he gets his black hat, loses his apprentice title and can finally work the mine full-time.

Heading back to work the next morning, Andy, "Wildman" Jerry Edwards and the rest of the Cobalt crew were eager to make up for their losses from the previous day. Their hopes were quickly dashed when a minor roof collapse left the continuous miner in shambles. Left with no other choice and with the miner decidedly down for the count, Tom Roberts pulled the continuous miner out of the mountain. Seeing such a necessary piece of machinery removed from the mine is something a miner never wants to see -- if there is no continuous miner, there is no job.

CEO Mike Crowder was sent into a panic as he had to find a way to locate a new continuous miner. The problem being that they cost upwards of $500,000. With their finances already strained beyond comprehension, Crowder would need the miner manufacturer, Joy, to let him finance the new equipment. Finally after two days of negotiations, Joy agreed and Crowder got himself a new continuous miner.

Shiny, new, and emblazoned with the Cobalt Coal Corp. logo, the miner was carefully brought into the mountain. Once it found its new home, things began to run like clockwork. With Andy Christian at the helm, the miners were on a record pace, making their way to seven cuts in no time. Meanwhile, Marushia ventured down into the mine to work as a roof bolter next to his cousin Jonathan Dotson when the team proved to be one man short. It took him a while to gain his footing in the dangerous occupation, at one point nearly blasting him and Dotson in the face with a runaway bolt. However, once he began to pace himself Marushia became a natural bolter; another chip off the old block.

The week closed out for Cobalt with Andrew Christian, Jr. stepping behind the controls for the new continuous miner. The younger Christian was determined to nab that eighth and record-breaking cut. And nab it he did.

Tune in next Sunday at 8PM/7c for an all-new episode of Coal, and keep an eye out for exclusive content and updates on, Facebook and on Twitter.