Coal has been fundamental for the development of industrial and transport technologies since the nineteenth century. Globalisation, including colonialism, would not have been possible without coal-based energy and thus the exploitation of coal in every part of the world. But coal mining is a labour-intensive activity and mine operators had to find, mobilise and direct workers to these sites to enable exploitation. The recruitment of miners often targeted groups with a perceived inferior status. This turned coal mining communities into dense social spheres characterised by the intricate dynamics of ethnic identifications, interracial relations and class formation. The twelve articles presented in this volume cover cases from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Turkey, the Soviet Union and Western Europe, as well as a broad range of topics, from segregation, forced labour and subcontracting, to labour struggles, discrimination, ethnic paternalism and sports.