Anil Usyan / Reuters A laborer takes a break at a coal dumpsite outside Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, November 6, 2014.
Amit Dave / Reuters Laborers rest as a boy playfully shovels coal at a yard in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, November 20, 2014.
Eduard Korniyenko / Reuters Miners work in a Komsomolskaya coal mine about 1080 meters (3543 feet) under the surface in the city of Vorkuta, Ukraine, September 2, 2014.
Robert Galbraith / Reuters Coal miner Mike Hawks, 53, stands in an underground tunnel at a coal processing facility near Gilbert, West Virginia, United States, May 22, 2014.
Sara Farid / Reuters Miners pose for a photograph inside a mine in Choa Saidan Shah, Punjab province, Pakistan, April 29, 2014.
Daniel Becerril / Reuters A miner takes a short break inside an unregulated coal mine in Sabinas, Mexico, January 15, 2013.
Laszlo Balogh / Reuters Miners work in Hungary's last remaining deep-cast coal mine at Markushegy, 43 miles west of Budapest, January 23, 2013.
Reuters A worker smokes a cigarette while taking a break at a coal freight yard in Hefei, Anhui province, China, January 13, 2013.
Mukesh Gupta / Reuters A laborer loads coal onto a truck at a coal yard on the outskirts of Jammu, India, August 24, 2012.
Mukesh Gupta / Reuters A laborer rests inside the wagon of a coal train as he takes a break from shoveling coal at a coal yard on the outskirts of Jammu, India, May 29, 2012.
Reuters Laborers walk on a path amid piles of coal at an opencast coal mine in Fuxin, Liaoning province, China, May 30, 2012.
Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters A worker sits near a drilling machine at a coal mine in the Mahanadi coal fields at Dera, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, March 28, 2012.
Berit Roald (Scanpix) / Reuters Coal miners Morten Oernebakk, Oeivind Brenli, and Tom Mortensen (left to right) work in Mine 7 in Svalbard, Norway, March 26, 2012.
Sheng Li / Reuters A worker unloads coal at a storage site along a railway station in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, April 13, 2010.

A Dusty Business

In Pakistan, workers from the Choa Saidan Shah mine use pick-axes to break up coal and load it onto donkeys, which bring their load up to the surface. Thousands of miners in Mexico go to work in unregulated coals mines, mostly in the northern part of the country, knowing that they may not return. At a a coal dumpsite outside of Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, workers wrap rag cloths around their noses and mouths to protect themselves from the dust. This gallery offers a glimpse into the lives of coal workers from around the world.

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