extraction of solid mineral resources from the earth. These resources include ores, which contain commercially valuable amounts of metals, such as iron and aluminum; precious stones, such as diamonds; building stones, such as granite; and solid fuels, such as coal and oil shale. The search for and discovery of mineral deposits is called prospecting
, or exploration. When a mineral deposit is found, it is studied to determine if it can be mined profitably. If so, the deposit can be worked or extracted by a variety of mining methods.
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