Coal mining is the mining of coal.
How coal is extracted from coal seams depends on how deep the seams are, and also the geology and geography of the area it's being mined in.
If the coal seams are near the surface, the coal is extracted by either:
- open pit mining, basically a quarry
- strip mining, coal is extracted by large machines in strips, the strata on top of the coal is often allowed to fall back to where the seam was once the mining has finished.
However most coal seams are too deep underground for open cast mining. Most coal is extracted by either:
- deep mining, The shaft is dug vertically deep into the ground. These tend to be the most productive pits and often contain high quality coals.
- drift mining, The shaft is dug into the side of a mountain. Drift mines are smaller than deep mines and are common in South Wales.
Now coal mining is highly unionised and is often quite militant. Mining communities are often close knit and very religious with a strong sense of community spirit. They are also invariably strongholds of left wing political parties.