The ABC’s of Mining


Like in any industry, those in mining speak their own language. From the technical vocabulary to the slang, those not playing in “mining sandbox” need a dictionary to decipher what’s being said. Here are some fun, cool, and informative terms for you to ruminate on.

Interesting mining terms

  • Miners, in the early days, were known as “underground savages.”
  • A “windy shot” (no, it’s not what you are thinking…) was termed to explain when an explosion failed to break the coal.
  • When we hear the word “conglomerate,” the first thing most people think of is a too-big-to-fail corporation. In mining, it means a coarse-grained sedimentary rock composed of rounded fragments greater than 2mm, within a matrix of finer-grained material.
  • “Horse” refers to a mass of rock matter that occurs in or between the branches of a vein.
  • A “Bump” is a violent dislocation of the mine workings due to the severe stresses in the rock surrounding the workings.
  • What would we do without technology? Back in the day, “Muck” meant working by hand, with a shovel. Fast forward to present day, and operators who use “Muckers” are a hot commodity!
  • Back in the day, a “Nipper” was an errand boy who ran errands for miners. I think we call them “Interns” now…
  • “Slag” (my favorite term) is the waste left as a residue by the smelting of metallic ore.
  • “Diffusion,” not to confuse with “infusion” for you “foodies’ out there, is the blending of a gas and air, resulting in a homogeneous mixture; or, the blending of two or more gases.
  • Speaking of gases, does anyone out there know what a “Little Red Wagon” was? It was the nickname given to traveling toilets back in the day!

The mining industry is one of a kind

Mining has been a very important part of our history for many centuries and is a lifestyle for many. I have a passion for the industry, and hearing stories from the mining professionals I speak with on a daily basis and seeing the old photos they share on social media makes me so incredibly honored and happy to be a part of the industry.  There is only one legitimate mining industry, and those who work in it are the only true legitimate mining professionals.