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Miners with explosives barricade themselves in Italy coal mine

ROME -- Up to 100 Sardinian coal miners who say they see a future in clean energy have armed themselves with hundreds of pounds of explosives and barricaded themselves nearly 438 yards underground to put pressure on the Italian government to protect the mine's survival.

The miners, from a 460-strong workforce, seized 772 pounds of company explosives and locked themselves inside the Carbosulcis mine -- the country's only coal mine -- west of Cagliari overnight on Monday, one of them said, ahead of a government meeting this week to discuss the pit's future.

"We are worried that the mine may close. We are afraid for our jobs," Sandro Mereu, 54, a miner who has worked there for 28 years told Reuters.

"We are prepared to stay here until we hear a response from the government that secures the future of the mine. We will stay here indefinitely," Mereu told Reuters by telephone. 

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According to The Associated Press, miners at the mine told Sky TG24 TV that they wanted the government and Parliament to quickly approve funding for a project to capture and store underground carbon dioxide that otherwise would add to polluting greenhouse gases. 

The miners want the mine to be diversified into a combined mining and carbon capture site to protect its future. 

Carbosulcis was estimated to have 600 million metric tons of coal reserves in 2006 but has struggled to stay productive. It was previously occupied in 1984, 1993 and 1995, when protesting workers stayed in a tunnel for 100 days.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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