How Much Does the Average Coal Miner Make in Virginia?

by Faith Davies; Updated September 26, 2017

Coal miners perform tasks to safely remove coal from the ground in underground systems of tunnels known as mines. More than 700 people in Virginia worked as miners as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages among these coal miners differs based on the duties that miners have at their work sites.

Service Unit Operators

Service unit operators run the machinery used to remove equipment jammed in coal mine walls and other surfaces when problems arise. In Virginia, service unit operators made an average of $15.34 per hour and $31,910 per year as of May 2010, making them the lowest paid coal miners in the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages in the state were more than 25 percent below the national average, which was $20.58 per hour and $42,810 per year. The lowest paid 10th of service unit operators in Virginia made $25,310 per year or less, while the highest paid 10th made $38,560 per year or more.

Continuous Machine Operators

Continuous mining machine operators run the equipment that removes coal deposits and transfers them to cars to be taken to the surface. These types of coal miners received $22.09 per hour and $45,950 per year as of May 2010, explains the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries among continuous mining machine operators in Virginia's coal mines were nearly 5 percent below the national average of $23.22 per hour and $48,300 per year. Salaries for continuous mining machine operators in Virginia ranged from $32,460 at the 10th percentile to $58,210 at the 90th percentile.

Cutting and Channeling Machine Operators

By operating their equipment, mine cutting and channeling operators expose areas of coal deposits to be removed by continuous machine operators. In Virginia's coal mines, mine cutting and channeling operators earned an average of $19.99 per hour and $41,590 per year as of May 2010, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mine cutting and channeling operators in Virginia made almost 7 percent less than the national average, which was $21.41 per hour and $44,530 per year. The maximum salary for the lowest 10th of miners in the field in Virginia was $27,530 per year, while the highest paid 10th made a minimum of $56,290 annually.

Roof Bolters

Roof bolters operate the machines that secure the roofs of mines to prevent collapses. In Virginia's coal mines, roof bolters are the highest-paid workers, earning an average of $26.14 per hour and $54,360 per year as of May 2010, estimates the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages in Virginia exceed the national average of $24.18 per hour and $50,290 per year by 8 percent. Virginia ranked as the fourth highest paying state for roof bolters nationwide. Salaries for Virginia's roof bolters ranged from $47,820 per year at the 10th percentile to $64,210 per year at the 90th percentile.

About the Author

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.