Mining can be defined as the process of extracting minerals from the earth. ¬†Mining can be classified into two namely; surface and underground mining. Surface mining includes extraction of minerals that are close tothe earth’s surface. It consists of variations such as dredging, open pit, mountaintop removal, hydraulic, strip and placer mining. Underground mining on the other hand involves the extraction of valuable minerals from the earth’s interior. Its variations consist of hard rock, borehole, shaft, and drift mining.

India is a country located in south Asia. It is also a highly productive country with industries such as steel, transport equipment, telecommunications, textiles, and mining among others. Mining in India is however the largest contributor to the country’s economic structure.

This is because of its richness in valuable minerals such as gold, coal, petroleum, limestone, diamonds, bauxite, titanium ore and natural gas among others. Its current production analysis states that eighty percent of its mining is in coal which the remaining twenty is distributed between iron, lead, bauxite, copper, zinc, uranium and gold.

The Tata coal mine at West Bokaro. Most of those employed at the mine are not from the locally displaced Adivasi communtiy so must find work in peripheral businesses of migrate in search of employment. Photo: Tom PietrasikJharkhand, IndiaJanuary 31st 2010

Coal mining is the process of extracting coal deposits from the ground. The main tools used during its extraction include; draglines, shearers, jacks and conveyors.  Coal mining has always been regarded as a crucial process. This is because coal is required in the cement and steel industries for the extraction of cement and iron from iron ore respectively.

When the coal is located close to the earth’s surface, the surface type of mining is used. Here, heavy equipment is used to clear the coverings on top of the wanted region such as the trees and the top soil. The next step is where holes are drilled and explosives are put inside which after they have exploded, cause the dirt and rocks to breakdown. Heavy machinery is then used to remove the broken down structures to reveal the coal. Once the coal is revealed, it is transferred to trucks with the use of shovels and bulldozers.

When the coal is deposited deep into the earth’s surface, the underground mining method is used. During the underground mining, only part of the coal is extracted. This is because the remaining coal is used as the support structure for the coal mines. For this type of mining, tunnels are made underground. This is to provide the travelling allowance required when operations are being carried out underground such as the movement of the extracted coal from one point to the other as well as to allow for the circulation of air in the tunnels. The next step is the extracted coal being placed on conveyor belts which transfer the coal to the surface.

Although mining activities in India have tremendously improved the economic structure of the country, with its prosperity it also brought its negative effects such as:

  1. High numbers of injuries have been reported in the mining stations which has turned out to be a major concern
  2. Illnesses especially ones resulting from exposure to insufficient oxygen
  3. Fatalities which are extreme accidents such as the collapsing of the mines which leads to the deaths of large numbers of people.