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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Undersea Mining  
  Conducting mining operations on the sea floor.  

"...I utilize the heat of coal from the earth."

"From the earth?" I said, my voice going up on the word.

"We'll say coal from the seafloor, if you prefer," Captain Nemo replied.

"And you can mine these veins of underwater coal?"

"You'll watch me work them, Professor Aronnax. I ask only a little patience of you, since you'll have ample time to be patient. Just remember one thing: I owe everything to the ocean; it generates electricity, and electricity gives the Nautilus heat, light, motion, and, in a word, life itself."

From 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne.
Published by Various in 1875
Additional resources -

Underwater mining was tried in ancient times; In the third century B.C., divers extracted copper ore from a depth of 4 m near Heybell Island in the Bosporus. However, modern technology was not really brought to bear on this idea until the mid-19th century, so you could still say that Verne was ahead of his time with this idea.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  More Ideas and Technology by Jules Verne
  Tech news articles related to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  Tech news articles related to works by Jules Verne

Undersea Mining-related news articles:
  - Undersea Mining With Nautilus Minerals Seafloor Production System

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