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The Globe and Mail

Hungary's coal miners toil far below the surface

Hungary has obtained European Union approval for a $190-million (U.S.) grant to shut down its last remaining deep-cast coal mine, an uncompetitive facility in Markushegy, 70 kilometres west of Budapest.

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Miners wait to begin their shift in Hungary’s last remaining deep-cast coal mine at Markushegy, near Budapest, Jan. 23, 2013. Hungary secured European Union regulatory approval on Wednesday for a $190-million (U.S.) grant to shut down the uncompetitive coal mine, operated by Vertes Power Plant, in the next two years.

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Miners leave after their shift below ground. Deep coal mining is generally more costly than open-cast, or strip mining.

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Miners work in Hungary’s last remaining deep-cast coal mine at Markushegy.

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A miner takes a shower after his shift.

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Markushegy miners at work. Hungary is not among the globe’s top coal producers; in 2011 it produced 0.19 per cent of the world total, according to the 2012 BP Statistical Energy Survey.

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The European Commission is providing financial aid to uncompetitive coal mines to facilitate their closure.

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Miners work at the Markushegy site. In the U.K., the country’s largest deep-cast coal mine is likely to close by 2014.

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Miners wait to begin their shift at Markushegy. Hungary has promised financial support and job counselling for miners who lose their jobs as a result of the closure.

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Miners wait to begin their shift. The Markushegy mine is scheduled to stop producing coal at the end of 2014.

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Miners ascend to the surface after their shift.

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Miners wait to leave the mine at the end of their shift.

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Miners are reflected in a glass panel as they wait to begin working.

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