Gold mining companies are firms that own and/or have rights to land in the specific search for gold. The entity involved in the extraction and exploration on that property of gold and other commodities is considered a mining company. Mining stocks are those companies whose shares trade publicly. Mining companies are subject to environmental policy, to ensure minimal negative environmental impact. There are several stages of gold mining companies, including prospecting for gold, exploration, development, and finally production/extraction of gold from the ground to the market.