Composed mainly of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, coal is a combustible rock of organic origin with fewer amounts of nitrogen, sulphur and other elements. Usually known as a fossil fuel, it is a willingly combustible fuel source. The emanation or discharge in the likes of coal is somewhat higher than petroleum. Utilized as an energy resource throughout history, coal has been primarily burned for the production of electricity and is also used for industrial purposes, such as refining metals. Coal is known for its two universal purposes; one is that they are the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity and the other one is it is the largest anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide releases. From 1880 this process is known, however, some deep mining works have been taken place in the early 1500s in North East England and along the Firth of Forth coast.

Deep shaft mining began during the late 18th century and progressed extensively in the UK. When the industry peaked, it came up with a rapid expansion all the way through the 19th century and early 20th century. Mined in various parts of the world, coal mining continues to be an important economic activity and at present, over 6185 million tonnes (Mt) of hard coal is produced worldwide.

Extraction methods

Based on the quality of the seams and depth, together with geology and environmental factors, economical method of extraction is considered from coal seams. They show a discrepancy of processes depending on the operation level, whether on the surface or underground. Coals extracted by this means require washing in a coal preparation plant. Basic extraction methods include surface mining and deep underground mining.


  1. Surface mining: In general, seams comparatively close to the surface, with depth less than about 180 ft (50 m) are surface mined.
  2. Underground mining: Coal at a depth of 180 to 300 ft (50 to 100 m) is deep mined, however in some cases the technique of surface mining are implemented.

Having said that, different types of techniques come into play in the aforesaid extraction methods!

Production:This greatest energy resource is mined commercially in over 50 countries. Europe's coal production, when compared to Asia shows a great decline. With 16% of hard coal production being exported, most of them are used in the country of origin.

Modern mining: As with what we say as technological advancements,coal mining has become more productive.