For an entirely brief synopsis of what digital mining is (as it pertains to crypto currencies) you are in the right place:
Mining is the action of validating the exchanges and transfers of value on the peer-to-peer network. The miners themselves dedicate a substantial amount of computing power to the “solving” of mathematical challenges and the miner that solves the math puzzle first and with accuracy is giving the reward of Bitcoin… or the type of coin that operate on the network on which the miner had there computing power focused.
So do away with the notion of trucks moving materials by the tonne in some quarry like setting and start thinking about rows and rows of computers tied together in a long chain, working in unison an complex mathematical problems. Sounds almost like the Borg from Star Trek when put that way, but again, oversimplyfying to make a point.
Individuals or companies or groups of people can start a mining operation for themselves, though it does require some technical savvy and the competition of computing power is immense when dealing with Bitcoin. (Other Crypto Coins are not as competitive in terms of hashing power required to crack open a new block.)
The high level of computational power needed to compete in the validation process has forever change the virtual currency mining world. What was once effectively done on people home computers or even gaming consoles has now transitions into the realm of massive pools of computers combining there hashing power in one uniformed direction to stay ahead of those other pools that are working to validate the same block of transactions.
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