This paper overviews the recent research progress in predicting cutting performance using fracture mechanics principles. It is emphasised that rock fragmentation due to cutting is mainly a process of chip formation resulting from crack initiation and propagation or crack interaction for multi-tool cutting. This process can be simulated by using the well developed fracture mechanics criteria coupled to numerical methods. Fracture toughness is shown to be an important and useful parameter in quantifying cutting performance and in designing cutting tools. The paper concludes with discussions on the dynamic effects involved in rock cutting processes which should be taken into account for optimum cutting efficiency and tool design.