Portal:Mining

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The Mining Portal

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Introduction

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Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore body, vein or (coal) seam. Any material that cannot be grown and harvested through agricultural processes (such as farming or forestry), or created artificially in a laboratory or factory, is usually mined. Materials recovered by mining include metals, ranging from base metals (such as iron and lead) to precious metals (such as gold and silver) to uranium, as well as coal, gemstones, limestone, marble, oil shale, rock salt, guano and potash. Mining in a wider sense comprises extraction of any non-renewable resource (e.g., petroleum, natural gas, or even water).

Mining has long been an essential part of human civilization and technology. In the Neolithic Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age, mining provided the stone, copper and tin to make the bronze, and the iron. Discoveries of valuable minerals have sparked gold and silver rushes, leading to the mass migration of many thousands of individuals to places around the world. With the invention of the steam engine, coal mining became critical to fueling the Industrial Revolution. Newer technologies such as nuclear power and consumer electronics have increased demands for previously unimportant minerals, leading to new cycles of mineral discovery and mining.

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The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was discovered by James Wilson Marshall at Sutter's Mill, in Coloma, California. News of the discovery soon spread, resulting in some 300,000 men, women, and children coming to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. Of the 300,000, approximately 150,000 arrived by sea while the remaining 150,000 arrived by land.

These early gold-seekers, called "40-niners," (as a reference to 1849) traveled to California by sailing boat and in covered wagons across the continent, often facing substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly-arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. At first, the prospectors retrieved the gold from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. More sophisticated methods of gold recovery developed which were later adopted around the world. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required - increasing the proportion of corporate to individual miners. Gold, worth billions of today's dollars, was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few. However, many returned home with little more than they started with.

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Zeche-Zollverein-Schacht-12-Foerdergeruest-2012.jpg
Credit: Michael A. Döring

Headframe on the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Ruhr region of Germany.

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WikiProject Mining is the hub for coordinating improvement of mining-related articles.

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Bagger 288, a giant bucket-wheel excavator, at work
Credit: User:Snorky and User:Martinroell

Bagger 288, a gigantic bucket-wheel excavator at the Garzweiler surface mine in Germany, and the largest land vehicle in the world when it was finished in 1978

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