An automated form of underground coal mining characterized by high recovery and extraction rates, feasible only in relatively flat-lying, thick, and uniform coalbeds. A high-powered cutting machine is passed across the exposed face of coal, shearing away broken coal, which is continuously hauled away by a floor-level conveyor system. Longwall mining extracts all machine-minable coal between the floor and ceiling within a contiguous block of coal, known as a panel, leaving no support pillars within the panel area. Panel dimensions vary over time and with mining conditions but currently average about 900 feet wide (coal face width) and more than 8,000 feet long (the minable extent of the panel, measured in direction of mining). Longwall mining is done under movable roof supports that are advanced as the bed is cut. The roof in the mined-out area is allowed to fall as the mining advances.