Coal mining is a highly mechanized, capital-intensive industry which is widespread throughout the world. The major coal-producing nations, in order of production, are China, the United States, India, South Africa, Australia, and the Russian Federation. Proven recoverable coal reserves of coal, including lignite, in order of abundance, include the United States, the Russian Federation, China, Australia, India, Germany, and South Africa. In the United States, the State of Wyoming is the largest producer of coal. Australia is the largest exporter of steam and coking coal.
Coal mining is accomplished by both surface and underground methods, with the former being the most prevalent (Lindbergh and Provorse, 1977; Kennedy, 1990; and Hartman, 1992). New technology is playing a major role in the steady increase of the productivity of coal miners throughout the world. Larger and more efficient equipment has reduced the labor-intensive nature of mining operations worldwide, particularly in the more developed nations (Orlemann, 1995).
Figures & Tables
This volume of the “Atlas of Coal Geology” provides 393 images on various subject matters related to coal deposits and coal resource utilization. The supporting text provides an introductory overview of coal exploration, mining, and coalbed methane (CBM) development, followed by discussions on various megascopic aspects of coal geology (microscopic aspects are covered in Volume 2). Because of the vast subject matter, many generalities had to be made in the text. References are included to guide those interested to more detailed discussions. All citations within the document are linked to the detailed reference list for this volume. The overriding theme for this publication is that a picture is worth a thousand words.