Wednesday September 16, 2015 marked the first day of the Bluefield Coal Show in Mercer County. It was held at the Brushfork Armory. Several vendors were on hand to showcase their underground mining equipment. President and CEO of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce Marc Meachum said it’s been a great turn out so far.
Meachum said, “32 different states are represented. We have Australia. We have China. We have England. We have some companies from South America so it’s really almost becoming an international show.”
Meachum said this is the largest exhibition of underground mining equipment that’s held every 2 years in the eastern part of the United States.
Despite the recent layoffs at mines in the two Virginias, vendors hope this event will help the mining industry.
Mike Goddard with Phillips Machine Service, Inc. Said, “We have 5 bankruptcies going on right now that we’ve been hit with different companies so the bankruptcies and the layoffs have definitely effected the the economy and the people as a whole. Hopefully the coal show will be a turn we can start upward and get it built back up. I have a concern for miners that need 20 or 30 more years in the industry.”
Meachum said this event is not open to the general public. It’s open to qualified people in the mining industry.
Meachum said, “Southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia’s coal is still vital and it’s going to be vital moving forward. We wouldn’t have this event here. We wouldn’t have the lights on in this building if it wasn’t for coal.”
The last day is Friday September 18, 2015.