Miracle Run, W.Va. (AP) -- U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is going underground at a West Virginia coal mine to get an up close view of modern mining.
Solis and Gov. Joe Manchin are scheduled to tour Patriot Coal's Federal No. 2 mine in Monongalia County on Tuesday.
They also plan to have a discussion with miners and look over an airtight refuge chamber.
Federal No. 2 uses what's called a longwall to produce coal.
Unlike conventional underground mining, a longwall removes vast blocks of coal rather than leaving pillars to support the roof.
Government records show the mine has about 500 employees and produced more than 3 million tons of coal last year.
St. Louis, Mo.-based Patriot operates mines in West Virginia and Kentucky.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)