Coal Episode Season Finale Recap: Is Cobalt Coming To An End Or Just Beginning?

June 23, 2011
It's been a season of ups and downs for Cobalt Coal. Taking over a Westchester, West Virginia mine were two gentlemen named Mike Crowder and Tom Roberts. It was a start-up mine if there ever was one. Big ideas with very little cash. Recruiting the best miners they could afford from nearby Welch, the two put their team to work. As we recap the season finale of Coal, we finally learn if Cobalt is destined to survive or fail.

When we left them, Cobalt was determined to get the land rights to the mountain just to the right of the Weschester works. The last thing that Tom Roberts needed was a practical joker in his midst, but that's exactly what he got. Mechanic Joe Pack came to work to discover his work coat covered in grease. He laughed it off, but Roberts and Superintendent J.C. Woolridge took the matter seriously, determined to find who did it. Right now though, it was time for everyone to get to work.

The day shift usually runs like clockwork, but as miner man Andy Christian started cutting he and the rest of the team realize that they're getting more rock than coal, never a good situation. Making matters worse were Christian's kidneys. With one bum kidney and another working only half as good as it's supposed to be, Christian truly is a mountain man to work as hard as he does.

His crew down in the mine working away, Tom Roberts is scoping out the land that he's hoping to acquire. Measuring nearly 120 football fields in length and holding 600,000 to 700,000 tons of of coal, if Cobalt gets the land rights they're looking at as much as five years worth of work, something everybody wants and needs.

Elsewhere, becoming more and more disgruntled, roof bolter Jeremy Auville shared a rare moment with his wife, Betty and their young daughter. He couldn't help but share his story of how he was the one to spread the grease on Pack's jacket in an act of revenge for him calling Auville out on his previous tardiness. Certainly not a way to endear yourself to your employers when you're already on their bad side.

Back in the mine, after Auville and his fellow night shift crew got back to work, the crew got a rude awakening when the 20-foot section of roof top fell, narrowly missing Randy Remines, who was hanging curtain. Clocking in at 52 inches thick and nearly 100 tons in weight, it's needless to say that when a quick-thinking colleague pulled him out of the way, they saved Randy's life.

When day shift got back in the coal the next day, the roof bolters began to realize that certain rooftops hadn't been bolted properly. Situations like these only cause delays, and delays are something that Cobalt CEO Mike Crowder cannot afford. 24 hours away from learning whether or not he and his company will get the leasing rights, he's furiously working on his mine plans. Distractions are not needed, but they keep coming.

As they shifts changes again, foreman Wildman Jerry Edwards went directly to Roberts and complained. Not only was his shift's productivity at risk, but so were their lives due to the poorly administered bolts. Auville caught wind of the conversation and decided to take it personally. After getting into an argument with Edwards, Auville took his anger out on Roberts. The two came close to blows, but ultimately Auville was restrained; his job however was gone with Tom Roberts deciding that enough was enough and that it was time to cut his bolter loose.

However, with the news finally coming down that Cobalt in fact won the new land lease, Auville quickly became a faded memory. The mining corporation and its mining team would be in the coal for another five years, and the small company looks like it will make it after all. Tom and Mike took a rare trip down into the mine and marked off the infamous right turn with red spray paint. Who would be the one to make the first cut? The legendary Andy Christian, of course. The cut was made and then the men of Cobalt went back to work, because that's what miners do.

The season may be over, but Coal is never far away. Be sure to find Coal on Facebook and Twitter for all the important updates.