How do we mine coal? (Open-cut processes)


Find out how coal is mined by the open-cut process. This is a short video describing the steps involved, from the loosening of the soil and rock above the coal by blasting with explosives to the transportation of the uncovered coal to the coal preparation plant. Footage courtesy of BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance.

Educational value statement

  • Shows the sequence of processes involved in construction of an open-cut coal mine
  • Shows examples of the technology used in open-cut mining
  • Includes footage of the Bowen Basin in Queensland, the location of one of the largest coal deposits in the world
  • Allows the video to be downloaded as a Flash video file.

Key learning objectives

  • Students describe the processes used to construct an open-cut coal mine and extract the coal.
  • Students give examples of how Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of human activity.


  • Science Understanding: Earth and space sciences
  • Science as a Human Endeavour: Use and influence of science
  • (Geographical knowledge and understanding: Environment)

Australian Curriculum content statements
Science: ACSSU116; ACSHE120; ACSSU153