Mining is the extraction (removal) of minerals and metals from earth. Manganese, tantalum, cassiterite, copper, tin, nickel, bauxite (aluminum ore), iron ore, gold, silver, and diamonds are just some examples of what is mined. Minerals and metals are very valuable commodities. For example, manganese is a key component of low-cost stainless steel. It is also used to de-color glass (removing greenish hues), but in higher concentrations, it actually makes lavender-colored glass. Tantalum is used in cell phones, pagers, and lap-tops. Cooper and tin are used to make pipes, cookware, etc. And gold, silver, and diamonds are used to make jewelry. Mining operations can be grouped into five major categories in terms of their respective resources. These are, oil and gas extraction, coal mining, metal ore mining, nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying, and support activities for mining. Out of all these categories, oil and gas extraction remains one of the largest in terms.
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