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Stillness overtakes a once busy coal mining industry in Spain

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Boots hang in a changing room in the partially abandoned and closed Santiago mine, as a result of the coal crisis, near Mieres, Oviedo, Spain, June 18.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Rusting mining carts at the Santa Barbara mine, abandoned seventeen years ago because of the coal crisis in the Turon valley, near Oviedo, Spain.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

A bushel grows through the rails of the Figaredo mines, abandoned and closed more than five years ago because of the coal crisis in the Turon valley near Oviedo, Spain.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Posters announcing a general strike on the bolted door of a mine company store at the Santa Barbara mine, abandoned seventeen years ago because of the coal crisis in the Turon valley, near Oviedo, Spain.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

An empty office is seen at the facilities of the Santa Barbara mine, abandoned seventeen years ago because of the coal crisis in the Turon valley, near Oviedo, Spain.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Dossiers and files are seen in an office at the Santa Barbara mine, abandoned seventeen years ago because of the coal crisis in the Turon valley, near Oviedo, Spain.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Miners clothes hang in a changing room in the partially abandoned and closed Santiago mine, as result of the coal crisis, near Mieres, Oviedo, Spain.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

A banner reads in Spanish "No entry, dangerous, industrial facilities are on the point of collapse" is seen at the main entrance of "La Camocha" mine, abandoned five years ago because of the coal crisis in Hueces, near Gijon, Spain.

AP reports: Mining has been an integral part of the economy of the two northern provinces since Roman times. Many miners are worried that government cuts — including a reduction in mining subsidies from €300 million to €110 million ($375 million-$137 million) — will mean the end of their industry.

Some 8,000 miners work in northern Spain, said Fernandez, who added that the sector had been making big strides to become self-sufficient but the cuts would come at the worst possible time.

"The cuts proposed by the government will mean the death of mining here and the end of hope for many youngsters new to mining," said Vazquez, 57, who was elected mayor after working 27 years underground. Full story.

Spanish coal mining unions are waging a general strike as 8,000 mineworkers at over 40 coal mines in northern Spain continue their protests against government action to cut coal subsidies. See more images from the strikes on PhotoBlog: