John Marron started work at Kellingley Colliery on his 15th birthday.
Now, 61, the father-of-two faces the daunting prospect of losing his job.
Mr Marron, who is the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) treasurer at Kellingley, moved to the area from Durham after his dad got a job at the Weeland Road pit.
He said: “It would be devastating for me because mining is all I’ve ever known.
“Who would want to take on a 61-year-old when all they’ve done is work down the pits?”
“We have fought for the future of the pits since the miner’s strike but I don’t think we’ve ever been this close to it actually closing.”
When the NUM branch heard an announcement was coming, Mr Marron thought it was that UK Coal had finally secured investment to ensure future of the pit.
He said: “UK Coal told us they were looking for investment so to find out we are looking at closure within 18 months is a shock.
“Our members are devastated. We had the next 20 years mapped out at Kellingley - there are enough reserves there.”