Analyzes effects of rock strata pressure on a coal seam, its cracking and on energy consumption of coal cutting by shearer loaders and coal plows. Effects of mining depth on stresses in a coal seam rib side were analyzed using formulae developed by Budryk, Chudek and Borecki. Formulae used for selecting optimum yield strength of powered supports at working faces are reviewed. Four types of spontaneous separation of coal seam blocks caused by rock strata stresses are evaluated: layers parallel to the face with constant thickness, coal blocks with thickness decreasing in the direction of the floor or roof (blocks with a planar triangle cross-cut), blocks situated in the seam layer adjacent to the floor or roof. Causes of each type of coal seam separation are analyzed. 9 refs.