End of an era: Germany closes its last black coal mine

  • Miners hold the last lump of coal during a closing ceremony of the last German coal mine Prosper-Haniel in Bottrop, Germany, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. The end of black coal production marks the end of an industry that started German’s industrial revolution and its post-war economic recovery. The mines once dominated the surrounding Ruhr region, employing up to half a million people. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

BERLIN — Straining to hold back tears, their once-white helmets and overalls smeared with dust, seven miners in Germany stepped out of a metal cage Friday bearing the last piece of black coal hauled up from 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) below.