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How is underground coal mined?

Read about how underground coal is mined in two basic ways.

Underground coal is mined differently in the U.S. than in Great Britain. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Underground coal is mined differently in the U.S. than in Great Britain.

There are two basic ways underground coal is mined: room and pillar, and longwall. In room and pillar mines, coal is removed by cutting rooms or large tunnels in the solid coal leaving pillars of coal for roof support.

Longwall mining takes successive slices over the entire length of a long working face. In the United States, almost all of the coal recovered by underground mining is by room and pillar method. In Great Britain, however, most of the coal is mined by longwall methods.

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