Methods of coal extraction include surface mining, area mining, contour mining, mountaintop removal mining, room and pillar mining, and underground mining.
Coal is mined commercially in over 50 countries. Over 7,036 Mt/yr of hard coal is currently produced, a substantial increase over the past 25 years. In 2006, the world production of brown coal and lignite was slightly over 1,000 Mt, with Germany the world’s largest brown coal producer at 194.4 Mt, and China second at 100.6 Mt.
Coal production has grown fastest in Asia, while Europe has declined. The top coal mining nations are: China, USA, India, Australia, South Africa, Russia, Indonesia, Poland, Kazakhstan and Colombia.
Most coal production is used in the country of origin, with around 16% of hard coal production being exported.