Mining is the process of extracting minerals and various materials from the earth. People have been mining for various stones and metals for several millennia. Materials that cannot be produced artificially (think alchemists and gold), are usually mined. These include, but are not limited to precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and palladium, diamonds, base metals like copper and zinc, iron, oil, natural gas and potash.
Mining has changed radically over the human history, and even more so in the last century. Mining processes nowadays entails searching and finding ore bodies, profitability analysis of the future mine, and finally extracting of the resources from the ground.
Mining has and will likely always be a controversial subject, because while it creates jobs and spurs economic activity, it also can be damaging to the environment. Like it or not our civilization is entirely dependent on mining for our survival needs (energy and shelter most notably) and this is not likely to change in the near future. Modern mining has become much safer and many government mining regulations ensure that mining activities donít damage the environment. Mining is and will likely be an inseparable part of the world economy for many years to come.