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Coal miners extract coal from surface mines and underground mines. To do this, they operate complex and expensive machinery that drills, cuts, scrapes, or shovels earth and coal so that the fuel can be collected. Since coal is hard to reach, large portions of earth must be removed from the surface or dug out of mines so the coal miners can get to it. Some coal miners are explosives experts who use dynamite and other substances to remove earth and make the coal accessible. Approximately 143,465 workers are employed in the U.S. coal mining industry, according to the National Mining Association.