Archive for April 29th, 2016

Originally published in The Seattle Times, April 29, 1975

By Stephen H. Dunphy
Times Staff Reporter

Tony Basselli

Tony Basselli, 62, will end 43 years of coal mining when Rogers No. 3 closes. Besides Black Diamond, he has worked in mines in Carbonado and Wilkeson in Pierce County. —Staff photo by Jerry Gay.

BLACK DIAMOND — The days are numbered for the Rogers No. 3 mine near here—the last remaining underground coal mine still operating in the state.

“The mine is just about finished,” said Carl Falk, who manages the mine for the Palmer Coking Coal Co. “In another two or three weeks it will be shut down.”

There’s still plenty of coal in the hills of Southeast King County—perhaps as much as 200 million tons—but time and money have passed the coal-mining industry.

The closing of Rogers No. 3—predicted for years—is the official end of an era for the coal towns that once dotted the area. Coal mining may start up again some day, but it will take new blood and new money.

FOR THE MEN who work the mines—men like Tony Basselli who has spent more than 40 years working underground—it will mean turning in their picks and shovels and retiring. Most of the men who still work Rogers No. 3 are at or near retirement age. (more…)

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