Coal mining is the process of extracting coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content and since the 1880s, has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United Kingdom and South Africa, a coal mine and its structures are a colliery, a coal mine – a pit, and the above-ground structures – a pit head. In Australia, "colliery" generally refers to an underground coal mine. In the United States, "colliery" has been used[when?] to describe a coal mine operation, but the word's usage is less common today.
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