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  1. A terrace on the side of a river or lake having at one time formed its bank. See also: bench gravel
  2. In an underground mine, a long horizontal face or ledge of ore in a stope or working place. CTD
  3. A layer of coal; either a coal seam separated from nearby seams by an intervening noncoaly bed, or one of several layers within a coal seam that may be mined separately from the others. AGI
  4. One of two or more divisions of a coal seam, separated by slate, etc., or simply separated by the process of cutting the coal, one bench or layer being cut before the adjacent one.
  5. The horizontal step or floor along which coal, ore, stone, or overburden is worked or quarried. See also: benching; opencast. Nelson
  6. A stratum of coal forming a portion of the seam; also, a flat place on a hillside indicating the outcrop of a coal seam. BCI
  7. In tunnel excavation, where a top heading is driven, the bench is the mass of rock left, extending from about the spring line to the bottom of the tunnel. Stauffer
  8. A part of the face of a large excavation that is advanced not as part of the round but as a separate operation. BS, 12
  9. A ledge that, in open-pit mine and quarries, forms a single level of operation above which minerals or waste materials are excavated from a contiguous bank or bench face. The mineral or waste is removed in successive layers, each of which is a bench, several of which may be in operation simultaneously in different parts of, and at different elevations in, an open-pit mine or quarry. CF: berm
  10. See: siege

Source: Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms

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