Coal is a black or brownish-black shiny rock, and most of it is buried deep underground, so we must "mine," or dig it out. Finding coal used to be done by people called prospectors. Today it is done by geologists.
There are two types of mining methods: Surface Mining and Underground Mining.
Surface mining is done when the coal is less than 200 feet below the ground. Surface mining is the most common mining process, used to produce the most coal in the U.S. Giant machines like bulldozers, bucket excavators, and large trucks remove the topsoil and rocks to expose large beds of coal.