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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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Lead electrolytic and 1cm3 cube.jpg
Lead is a chemical element in the carbon group with symbol Pb (from Latin: plumbum) and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft and malleable metal, which is regarded as a heavy metal and poor metal. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed to air. Lead has a shiny chrome-silver luster when it is melted into a liquid.

Lead is used in building construction, lead-acid batteries, bullets and shot, weights, as part of solders, pewters, fusible alloys, and as a radiation shield. Lead has the highest atomic number of all of the stable elements, although the next higher element, bismuth, has a half-life that is so long (much longer than the age of the universe) that it can be considered stable. Lead, at certain contact degrees, is a poisonous substance to animals, including humans. It damages the nervous system and causes brain disorders.

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Bingham Canyon Mine 1942c.jpg
Credit: Andreas Feininger

Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah, United States, photographed in 1942.


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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