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The Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the 18th century and later spread to continental Europe and North America, was based on the availability of coal to power steam engines.
International trade expanded rapidly when coal-fed steam engines were built for the railways and steamships.
In Australia, "colliery" generally refers to an underground coal mine.
In the United States, "colliery" has been used to describe a coal mine operation but nowadays the word is not commonly used.
In New South Wales open casting for steam coal and anthracite is practiced.
Until the late nineteenth century coal was mined underground using a pick and shovel, and children were often employed underground in dangerous conditions.
Coal-cutting machines were introduced in the 1880s.
Coal mining has had many developments over the recent years, from the early days of men tunnelling, digging and manually extracting the coal on carts, to large open cut and long wall mines.
Mining at this scale requires the use of draglines, trucks, conveyors, hydraulic jacks and shearers.