DAYTON, TN (AP) - A new deep mine operation has been approved by Tennessee and federal officials to allow coal extraction from Dayton Mountain.

Officials with Iron Properties of Dayton, Tennessee say that the coal mine at the larger of the two sites, the 127-acre Liberty Mine, could be in operation by 2017 and initially employ a little less than 100 people. A Chattanooga newspaper reports that's one-third of the anticipated 300 jobs the Rhea County operations are expected to eventually create.

The salary for an underground miner is more than $50,000 a year in a county where the median household income in 2012 was $34,842.

Companies elsewhere in the world use the type of coal mined in Appalachia and in Rhea County to make steel.

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