Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) in Illinois, US, has broken ground on a simulated mine training facility, which is expected to educate more than 1,000 miners a year.
The 12,000ft² facility will be used for hosting national competitions and educating miners through the college's coal mining training programmes administered by Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC).
IECC workforce education dean Mike Thomas was reported by Lee News Service as saying: "It will be a state-of-the-art-mine rescue centre.
"It will be great for new miners to get the skills and understanding of how an actual coal mine works and it will also be great for rescue teams to come in and practice their skills."
SIC's new facility has received $220,000 fund from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development and will be the second such facility in the state after the one built at Rend Lake College.
To be built on the northern side of the campus, the new facility will resemble a real underground mine featuring cross cuts, pillars, fans and other equipments.
According to Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO) senior policy advisor Ellen McCurdy, the facility will enhance the state's reputation as one of the safest mining regions in the country. The facility is part of $15m invested toward safety programmes in the last five years under Governor Pat Quinn.
McCurdy said: "We are really proud to be partners with these institutions and the Illinois coal industry.
"Together, we are important links in the safety and training chain that has made coal mining in Illinois a healthier, safer and more professional occupation."