The history of coal mining goes back thousands of years. It became important in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was primarily used to power steam engines, heat buildings and generate electricity. Coal mining continues as an important economic activity today.
The most significant uses of coal are in electricity generation, steel production, cement manufacturing and as a liquid fuel. Different types of coal have different uses. Steam coal - also known as thermal coal - is mainly used in power generation.