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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 Cripple Creek miners' strike of 1894 was a five-month strike by the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) in Cripple Creek, Colorado, USA (pictured). It resulted in a victory for the union and was followed in 1903 by the Colorado Labor Wars. It is notable for being the only time in United States history when a state militia was called out (May/June 1894) in support of striking workers.

The strike was characterized by firefights and use of dynamite, and ended after a standoff between the Colorado state militia and a private force working for owners of the mines. In the years after the strike, the WFM's popularity and power increased significantly through the region.

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Credit: Alchemist-hp

Samples of cassiterite, a key ore of the metal tin

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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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