Coal Mining

Coal Mining

Overview

The 480 coal producers in the US sell coal to electric utilities, industrial facilities, steel manufacturers, and energy marketing firms or traders. Exports are also an important market for US coal producers. Coal mines are classified by their mining method and the type of coal they mine. Surface mining is the predominant mining method, particularly in western states, while underground mining is often used in eastern states. Coal varies by its heat content, ranging from lignite (the lowest grade) to subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite (the highest grade).

Environmental Compliance

Coal producers are directly impacted by a wide range of environmental regulations that affect the permitting, operation, and reclamation of mining sites.

Competition for Electric Power Generation

Over 99% of US coal consumption is used for electric power generation and the US has 844 coal-fired generating units in operation at 564 plants across the country.