Mining provides much of the raw material needed in both the developed and developing world; oil mining, for example, provides the fuel most vehicles require. Mining also provides much of the raw material needed for products made of plastic and metal. Mining can also provide economic benefits to local communities.
In the United States, coal and natural gas are the two most popular types of fuel, as of 2015, and these materials are extracted through different types of mining. Nuclear energy, the third most popular source of electricity, requires uranium, which also comes from mines.
Most plastic is made from mined oil, and the low cost and flexibility of plastic makes it a popular material for a wide range of products. Steel, which is needed for skyscrapers, warehouses and other types of buildings, is made from iron extracted from mined iron ore. Many vehicles are made of steel or aluminum as well. Computers need copper and rare earth elements to run; these elements come from mining.
Much of West Virginia and Appalachia depend on mining to support local employees, and small areas in the developing world depend on mining income as well. Other communities benefit economically from the work done by miners as well. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for example, was largely built around steel plants, which were run on coal mined nearby.