The prerequisite of maintaining an efficient and safe mining operation is the proper design of a mine by considering all aspects. The first step in a coal mine design is a realistic geometrical modelling of the coal seam(s). The structural features such as faults and folding must be reliably implemented in 3D seam models. Upon having a consistent seam model, the attributes such as calorific value, ash and moisture contents, volatile matter, and sulfur must be estimated in the block model. Considering the geotechnical and hydrogeological conditions, the most appropriate mine design strategy can be selected and implemented. Application of the above steps to three coal basins in Turkey are presented in this paper. The Soma-Eynez and Tunçbilek-Ömerler basins are the two most important lignite resources having an on-going production and prospect for future underground mining. Comprehensive 3D coal seam modelling is carried out at both basins. As both are extensively faulted due to tectonism, it is a challenging task to realistically model their structures. On the other hand, the Karapınar basin has a considerably different geological, structural, and coal measure rock conditions in comparison to the Eynez-Ömerler basin. The Karapınar basin is a relatively recently explored brown field site suitable mainly for surface mining. Coal seam(s) geometry and quality-related attributes certainly play the most important role for production planning and mining activities. The influence of the inherent characteristics of each site on the modelling and mine design strategy are also briefly discussed. This paper presents the fundamentals of coal seam modelling at various geological and structural conditions. It is believed that the methodology presented in this paper can be considered as a guiding example for a comprehensive 3D modelling and resource estimation of coal seams around the world.