Anthracite: The highest rank or quality of dark black coal, containing only a small percentage of volatile matter and a high percentage of carbon up to 90 to 95%.
Bituminous: A high rank or quality of coal that contains 70 to 85% carbon.
Blackjack: A dark material of zinc blend or sulfide of zinc.
Btu: Abbreviation for British thermal unit; a measurement used in the coal industry to describe how much heat per pound of coal is created when burning the different ranks of coal.
Bump: A sudden, unexpected release of stress and pressure from an underground coal seam that can send coal and rock flying with explosive force and can leave nearby miners buried or trapped by debris.
Coal cutter: A machine powered by compressed air or electricity for undercutting coal from a seam.
Coal face: The place at which the coal is being worked and broken away from a coal seam by miners.
Coal mine: Any excavation made for the extraction of coal from the Earth.
Coal operator: The individual or company who runs a mine or colliery.
Coal seam: A layer, bed or vein of coal in the earth that is considered to be a significant deposit.
Coke: Bituminous coal that has had non-carbon volatile matter burned off by heat, so that the pure fixed carbon and ash of coal are fused together; used to fire industrial burning ovens often for the melting and shaping of metal products.
Colliery: The whole coal mining plant operation; usually refers to all of the buildings around the mine site on the surface, including the preparation plant and shops, but sometimes refers to the mine itself.
Commercial mine: A mine operated for the purpose of supplying coal to purchasers in general.
Domestic coal: Usually lower quality coal burned for powering and heating houses.
Dragline: An excavating machine that uses a bucket operated and suspended by lines or cables, one of which lowers the bucket from the boom, the other allowing the bucket to swing out from the machine or to be dragged toward the machine to remove overburden above a coal seam.
Drift mine: A horizontal passage underground created by miners usually on hillsides or foothills, river banks, or the sides of mountains, and which usually follow a coal seam.
Iron-ore smelting: A heating process using high-rank coke coal to melt and shape metal.
Lignite: A low rank or quality of coal with brown streaks containing only about 60% carbon.
Locomotive: An engine powered by steam that is generated from the burning of coal or wood, by compressed air, or by diesel fuel; used to move empty and loaded mine cars in and out of a mine or along railway tracks between communities.
Methane: An explosive gas present in some underground coal mines; formed by the decomposition of organic matter; tasteless, colourless, non-poisonous and usually odorless.
Miner: One who mines and extracts coal at a coal face underground.
Outcrop: The portion of a coal seam or coal bed appearing at the surface, or immediately below the soil.
Overburden: Layers of soil and/or rock covering a bed or seam of useful coal.
Panel: A method of mining coal in which distinct rooms or spaces are created, often with pillars of unmined coal left to support the mine roof.
Peat: The partly decomposed organic plant matter of swamps, which is partly carbonized.
Room-and-pillar: A method in which coal is mined from underground rooms separated by pillars. The pillars are either solid blocks of coal or wood timbers and support the roof of the mine in order to prevent a mine collapse in any of the rooms.
Shaft mine: A vertical or highly inclined tunnel made to reach a coal seam.
Slope mine: A mine tunnel shaft on an angle to reach an underground coal seam.
Steam coal: A hard coal with high carbon content used for industrial use such as to fuel steam train locomotives.
Subbituminous coal: A rank or quality of coal above lignite coal and below bituminous coal; often used for thermal electricity generation; contains between 42%-52% carbon, with a heat value ranging from 8,200 to 11,200 Btu/lb.
Surface or strip mining: Mining carried out from the Earth’s surface rather than underground by removing the soil and rock cover above the coal.
Tipple: The building and rail tracks near the opening of a mine where unearthed coal is dumped, screened and loaded.
Ton: A measure of weight; a short ton = 2,000 lb.; a metric tonne is 1,000 kg
Trapper boy: A boy stationed at an underground door in a mine shaft to open and close the door in order to control ventilation and air currents in the mine.
Ventilation: The air circulating in an underground mine that is necessary to avoid methane buildup and explosions in gaseous mining regions.