The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and, since the 1880s, has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States, United Kingdom, and South Africa, a coal mine and its structures are a colliery. In Australia, "colliery" generally refers to an underground coal mine.
Coal mining has had many developments over the recent years, from the early days of men tunneling, digging and manually extracting the coal on carts to large open cut and long wall mines. Mining at this scale requires the use of draglines, trucks, conveyor, jacks and shearers.