The public health aspects of mining were commented on in this keynote address. The ten leading categories of work related health problems in the United States are occupational lung disease, musculoskeletal injuries, nonlung occupational cancer, traumatic injury, cardiovascular disease, reproductive problems, neurotoxic illness, noise induced hearing loss, dermatological problems, and psychological disorders. Many of these health problems are known to be associated with mining. Existing reporting systems are scattered and nonuniform, so it is difficult to make reliable interpretations of the data. A further problem in assessing the public health perspective of mining is that data collected on miners is not matched by environmental data collected over the same interval in the mines in which exposures occurred. The author recommends that a national surveillance program be established. He also suggests that additional laboratory research is needed to determine the biological mechanisms triggered by mining exposures, that environmental exposures be described in ways which will permit effective industrial inspections for hazards, and that there must be a much more comprehensive understanding of risk factors.