How do we mine coal? (Underground processes)


Find out how coal is mined underground. This short video describes a form of underground mining called long wall mining, which is used to extract coal when it is too deep for open-cut mining. A combination of filmed an animated footage shows how two long, parallel tunnels are cut by a continuous miner. These are linked by a third tunnel, and its wall is mined in strips by the long wall miner. Footage courtesy of BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance.

Educational value statement

  • Shows the sequence of processes involved in long wall mining of coal
  • Shows examples of the technology used in underground mining
  • Allows the video to be downloaded as a Flash video file.

Key learning objectives

  • Students describe the processes used in long wall mining to extract coal.
  • Students describe how technological advances have contributed to the efficiency and safety of coal mining.


  • 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