As the eyes of the world watched the successful rescue of the Chilean miners, CBC Almanac radio turned to Bill Roberts, author of Best Miners in the World for his insights into the life and trials of Canadian miners. Bill worked for the Sullivan Mine in Kimberley for 38 years, 36 of those underground as a hardrock miner.
In his book, Roberts explains what it is to spend your working life far below the reach of sunlight surrounded by rock walls and heavy equipment and sharing the unique bond of brotherhood that all miners share.
At the heart of the book are the amazing stories of over two dozen miners. Many of the old timers included have worked in mines around the world from the coal mines of England to the Cominco mine in Greenland. Others began their underground life in the Mighty Sullivan as teenagers, eventually retiring, like Bill Roberts, after a lifetime of moiling for the Company.
Here, Roberts has faithfully reproduced their stories, told by miners in their own words and unique dialect. This book is a treasure trove of first hand accounts of life underground and the mortal dangers encountered in the course of their work. It also includes both joyful and tragic stories of rescue and recovery by those who lived to recount the details: the explosion at the Balmer Mine in the Crowsnest Pass killed two mechanics while 91 men perished in Idaho at the Sunshine Mine disaster. It's a book that offers the rest of us a glimpse into a world that most can't even imagine.