Since the beginning of mankind, there has been mining. Man searched the hillsides for obsidian for making points and the stream beds for rocks suitable for hammers or clubs. King Solomon, of Biblical times, had iron, gold, silver and turquoise mines. His miners used moil, hammers and fire to chip and spall the rocks. The early Romans mined in all of those areas which they had conquered. Their mining methods were similar to those of King Solomon’s day, except by this time new tools of iron were available.
In the mid 1880’s, miners were hand steeling and using black powder to blast the rock. By the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, steam power, electricity and compressed air were available. Mining was becoming simpler with less manual labor involved. Today, mining is highly specialized, using diesel, electric, gas or compressed air to power all types of mining equipment. The 21st Century has brought us a new tool with which to mine. Lasers will replace drilling and blasting methods that are presently the standard in the mining industry. Finally, man has come full circle, from spalling rock with hammers and fire, to now spalling rock with the power of lasers.