Terms and definitions

Anthracite Anthracite coal is a form of coal that is almost made entirely of carbon. Anthracite coal is much harder than other forms of coal and is usually found in areas surrounding mountains or deep valleys.
Carboniferous Period The Carboniferous Period is famous for its vast swamp forests. These swamps produced the coal from which the term Carboniferous, or "carbon-bearing," is derived. The Carboniferous Period lasted from about 359.2 to 299 million years ago.
Climate change This term describes changes in the state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. These changes can be caused by processes inside the Earth, forces from outside (e.g. variations in sunlight intensity) or, more recently, human activities.
Coal seam A coal seam is a dark brown or black banded deposit of coal that is visible within layers of rock, usually thick enough to be profitably mined.
Coking or metallurgical coal Coking coal is used to create coke, one of the key inputs for the production of steel.
Continuous miner A continuous miner is a mining machine that produces a constant flow of ore from the working face of the mine. The machine continuously extracts as it is loading coal with a cutting steel drum and conveyor system. Continuous miners are typically used in room and pillar mining operations.
Dragline exacavator A dragline excavator is a piece of heavy equipment used in civil engineering and surface mining. Draglines fall into two broad categories: those that are based on standard, lifting cranes, and the heavy units which have to be built on-site.
Fossil fuel Fossil fuels are coal, gas or oil – natural fuels formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.
Greenhouse gases and global warming Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons are gases that can trap heat. Overall, greenhouse gases are a good thing, but human activities are adding too much of these gases to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket, absorbing infrared radiation and preventing it from escaping into outer space. The net effect is the gradual heating of Earth’s atmosphere and surface, a process known as global warming.
Haulage The commercial transport of goods by road or rail. It is also the term used for the transport of mined coal from working faces to the surface.
Iron Age The African Iron Age is traditionally considered that period in Africa between the second century AD and up to about 1000 AD when iron smelting was practised.
Oil from coal Coal-to-oil technology dates back to the 1920s, when two German chemists, Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch, developed a process to convert coal into a gas and then use it to make synthetic fuels. To produce oil, the coal is superheated to more than 1,000°C; steam and oxygen are added; pressure is increased; and the coal is pushed through a series of chemical reactions.
Open pit mining Open-pit or open-cast mining is a surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit.
Peat Peat is a brown deposit resembling soil, formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter in the wet, acidic conditions of bogs and fens, and often cut out and dried for use as fuel and in gardening.
Power station A power station, also referred to as a power plant or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation of electric power.
Tailings Tailings, also called mine dumps or slimes, are the materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of an ore.
Thermal or steam coal Thermal coal is ground to a powder and fired into a boiler to produce heat, which in turn converts water into steam to drive turbines to produce electricity.