Mining is the extraction of valuable geological materials and minerals from the Earth and other astronomical objects. Mining is required to obtain most materials that cannot be grown through agricultural processes, or feasibly created artificially in a laboratory or factory. Ores recovered by mining include metals, coal, oil shale, gemstones, limestone, chalk, dimension stone, rock salt, potash, gravel, and clay. The ore must be a rock or mineral that contains valuable constituent, can be extracted or mined and sold for profit.
[1] Mining in a wider sense includes extraction of any non-renewable resource such as petroleum, natural gas, or even water.

Modern mining processes involve prospecting for ore bodies, analysis of the profit potential of a proposed mine, extraction of the desired materials, and final reclamation or restoration of the land after the mine is closed.
[2] Mining materials are often obtained from ore bodies, lodes, veins, seams, reefs, or placer deposits. The exploitation of these deposits for raw materials is dependent on investment, labor, energy, refining, and transportation cost.

Mining operations can create a negative environmental impact, both during the mining activity and after the mine has closed. Hence, most of the world's nations have passed regulations to decrease the impact; however, the outsized role of mining in generating business for often rural, remote or economically depressed communities means that governments often fail to fully enforce such regulations. Work safety has long been a concern as well, and where enforced, modern practices have significantly improved safety in mines.

Process Of Mining

Exploration & Prospecting Stage:

  • Geologists take center stage during this initial phase. They meticulously study the land, analyzing rock formations, soil samples, and geological features.
  • Aerial surveys, satellite imagery, and ground-based measurements help identify potential mineral deposits.
  • Techniques include geological mapping, soil sampling, and geophysical surveys.

Discovery Stage:

  • Once geologists pinpoint promising areas, detailed exploration begins.
  • Drilling, trenching, and sampling confirm the presence of valuable minerals.
  • Geologists estimate the quantity and quality of the deposit.

Development Stage:

  • This phase involves meticulous planning and design.
  • Engineers create blueprints for the mine site, considering safety, infrastructure, and environmental impact.
  • Legal permits are obtained, and financing arrangements are secured.

Production Stage

  • Miners extract minerals using various methods:
  • Open-Pit Mining: Removing overburden to access shallow deposits.
  • Underground Mining: Venturing deep into the Earth to extract valuable resources.
  • Placer Mining: Collecting minerals from riverbeds and alluvial deposits.
  • Processing plants crush, grind, and separate minerals from waste material.

Monitoring and control:

Advancements in sensor technology and in computer hardware and software capabilities are finding increasing application in underground coal mines, especially in the monitoring and control of ventilation, haulage, and machine condition. Machinery can be remotely operated, and continuous miners have also been equipped with automatic controls.

Coal preparation:

A coal preparation or beneficiation plant is a facility that washes coal of impurities such as ash, soil and rock, crushes it into graded and sized chunks (sorting), stockpiles grades, and prepares and loads it for transport to market.


Once coal has been prepared, higher grades are delivered to export markets while the lower-grade product is purchased by Eskom and burned in specially-designed power station boiler hearths.