BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — The mining industry came a long way since the Bluefield Coal Show was revived by the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce in 1976. On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, exhibitors showed off the latest in mining equipment and safety at the premier coal show.

They called it a “Coal Show for Coal People,” where anyone in the mining industry is encouraged to attend.

Randy Earnest worked in the industry for more than 30 years.

“I love coal,” said Earnest. “If it weren’t for coal, I would have never had a job my whole lifetime.”

Shannon Remines, president and CEO of Industrial Plating and Machine, was there to feature their latest achievements in mining machinery.

“Being from Bluefield, the coal industry is such an important part of our business and being at the coal show makes us proud,” said Remines.

More than 200 exhibitors participated in the 23rd biennial coal show at the Brushfork Armory on Wednesday.

The trade show highlights the best of the coal industry, including the latest mining innovations, such as underground mining, technology, aggregate components, equipment and safety.

“Just seeing how modernized the coal business is getting, it’s unreal what they do… and safety, that’s the main thing,” said Earnest. “Making sure guys working don’t get killed and don’t get hurt.”

The show is also a hiring opportunity. Chairman of the Bluefield Coal Show, Bob Ramsay, said this year, they included a job fair and business resource center.

“To help the miners find some new jobs,” Ramsay said. “It’s a tumultuous time in the industry right now, but there are some job openings and we’re hoping to match those up with some of the out-of work miners.”

The show can connect workers with companies that deal with more than just coal, like locally owned IPM. Remines said IPM’s diversity allows for more job security.

“We don’t have those layoffs that some companies do in this region, so when someone comes to work for IPM, it’s truly a career move for life,” said Remines.

The Coal show will continue at the Brushfork Armory on Thursday and Friday.