Coal mining is taking coal out of the earth for use as fuel, and there are two types of it: surface and mountaintop mining and underground mining. Coal is one of the most important resources because of its ability to be a fuel. Surface mining is used when the coal is near the surface, and a process known as strip mining extracts it; this is literally tearing a strip out of the earth to expose the coal. This is a highly controversial method though because by taking so many strips, the topography of the mountain changes drastically. Underground mining is the second technique where one builds coalmines because the coal is too far underground. There are four types of underground mining, and they are longwall mining, continuous mining, blast mining, and shortwall mining. Longwall mining is the most common, accounting for about 50% of all underground mining, and a machine is used to drill the coal out where it is then place on a conveyor after it falls down. Continuous mining too utilizes the conveyor belt system, and is also used by a machine. The machine contains many "teeth", which scrape the coal from the seams of the many rooms built by miners for the machine to travel in. Blast mining is very straightforward because explosives such as dynamite are literally used to blast the coal out. After the coal is blasted out, miners manually place them on a conveyor belt. This method only accounts for about 5% of underground mining though, and it requires a lot of work because miners have to loosen the coal bed so it breaks more easily also. The least used method, shortall mining, and uses a machine, like the longwall, but the longwall machine is much bigger and convenient. Through all these methods, pure coal is obtained so that it can be used as fuel for things such as heating. Coal, like all fossil fuels, is harmful to the environment. When it is burned, it releases harmful gases into the atmosphere, which damage the earth; however, there are also many...
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