Illustrated Mining Terms


Main entry - A main haulage road.  
Main fan - A mechanical ventilator installed at the surface; operates by either exhausting or blowing to induce airflow through the mine roadways and workings. Photo of 54" Diameter Fan
Manhole - A safety hole constructed in the side of a gangway, tunnel, or slope in which miner can be safe from passing locomotives and car. Also called a refuge hole.  
Man trip - A carrier of mine personnel, by rail or rubber tire, to and from the work area

Red Deer River Valley Mine circa 1945

Manway - An entry used exclusively for personnel to travel form the shaft bottom or drift mouth to the working section; it is always on the intake air side in gassy mines. Also, a small passage at one side or both sides of a breast, used as a traveling way for the miner, and sometimes, as an airway, or chute, or both.

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Meridian -– A surveying term that establishes a line of reference. The bearing is used to designate direction. The bearing of a line is the acute horizontal angle between the meridian and the line. Azimuths are angles measured clockwise from any meridian.

Methane – A potentially explosive gas formed naturally from the decay of vegetative matter, similar to that which formed coal. Methane, which is the principal component of natural gas, is frequently encountered in underground coal mining operations and is kept within safe limits through the use of extensive mine ventilation systems. Methane Recovery Plant
Methane monitor - An electronic instrument often mounted on a piece of mining equipment, that detects and measures the methane content of mine air.

Milling ore - ore that must be concentrated at or near the mine before it is shipped.  
Mine development - The term employed to designate the operations involved in preparing a mine for ore extraction. These operations include tunneling, sinking, cross-cutting, drifting, and raising.

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Miner - One who is engaged in the business or occupation of extracting ore, coal, precious substances, or other natural materials from the earth's crust.

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Mineral - An inorganic compound occurring naturally in the earth's crust, with a distinctive set of physical properties, and a definite chemical composition.
Mining Engineer - A person qualified by education, training, and experience in mining engineering. A trained engineer with knowledge of the science, economics, and arts of mineral location, extraction, concentration and sale, and the administrative and financial problems of practical importance in connection with the profitable conduct of mining.  
Misfire - The complete or partial failure of a blasting charge to explode as planned.  
MSHA - Mine Safety and Health Administration; the federal agency which regulates coal mine health and safety.  
Muck - a common term for any broken ore or waste underground.  
Mud cap - A charge of high explosive fired in contact with the surface of a rock after being covered with a quantity of wet mud, wet earth, or sand, without any borehole being used. Also termed adobe, dobie, and sandblast (illegal in coal mining).

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