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The mines were essentially unregulated, with only the most cursory inspections. Reports often made recommendations for safety precautions, but not requirements. 

Cave-ins were common. Roof bolting technology existed but installing it took time and money that companies did not want to spend. The program in some mines was "Probably the roof won't fall."

Deep pit mining requires that clean air be pumped in continuously and in sufficient quantity. Even if it doesn't kill you immediately, "bad air," as it is called can  cripple you in the long run. 

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