Mining is one of the strangest professions in the World of Warcraft. This may seem counterintuitive in the face of such odd professions as alchemy, and more particularly, engineering. But when you think of it, mining is equally strange in its own way.
Mining in the World of Earthiness is by and large a capitalist venture, where the people getting rich off of the various precious metals in the world are never ever the same people who actually go out and dig the stuff out of the ground. No, the rich people find other people do to the actual digging for them, and then compel those diggers to hand over the fruits of their hard work for a mere fraction of the work's actual value. Furthermore, precious metals here on Earth are not simply lying about at the surface for anyone with a pickaxe to come along and collect -- otherwise those metals wouldn't be precious anymore.
Mining on Azeroth is more like collecting interesting seashells than it is anything similar to what humans do on Earth. Below, we will find a few ideas about why in the world only the very greatest adventurers with the best training can go around picking up shiny ore nodes sticking up out of the ground, as well as what it might mean to your character to do so.