NMA coal survey details 2007 increases in consumption, power generation and exports

The National Mining Association’s (NMA) recently published 2007 Coal Producers Survey documents increased coal consumption and use for electricity generation in America along with a big spike in US coal exports. According to the survey, total domestic consumption of coal was 1,023.8 Mt in 2007, marking an increase of 1.5% over 2006 consumption. That increase was primarily due to a warm summer that led to higher utility use in the power sector.

The majority of coal production, approximately 93%, continued to be used for electricity generation. Power producers used an estimated 949 Mt of coal in 2007, about 18 Mt more than in 2006, with coal continuing to provide nearly 50% of total electricity net generation.

Regarding exports, the US shipped slightly more than 53.5 Mt of coal in 2007, marking a nearly 20% jump in exports versus 2006. According to the survey, coal has been the beneficiary of a global rush for resources, as well as an exchange rate that has the US dollar trading lower against most international currencies. Metallurgical coal exports ended the year at 29 Mt, up 17%, as demand for US coking coal for international markets increased dramatically, according to the survey. The majority of the increased demand for metallurgical coal is the result of increased shipments to Europe, South America and Africa, primarily Egypt. Steam coal exports increased almost 22% to 24.5 Mt in 2007, driven by much larger shipments to Europe and Africa, primarily Morocco.

According to the survey, US exports of both steam and metallurgical coal are expected to continue to rise in 2008 due to the strong international coal demand and the weak US dollar.

The survey also charts the largest underground and surface coal mines  in the country. According to the survey, CONSOL Energy had three of the top five underground mines in the country. The top five in terms of production were CONSOL’s Enlow Fork mine in Pennsylvania, with 10.15 Mt; CONSOL’s Bailey mine in Pennsylvania with 9 Mt; CONSOL’s McElroy in West Virginia with 8.8 Mt; Peabody Energy’s Twentymile mine in Colorado, with 7.2 Mt and Foundation Coal Holding’s Cumberland Resources mine in Pennsylvania, with 6.6 Mt.

For surface coal mines, Rio Tinto Energy America had three of the top five mines. The five top producing surface mines in 2007 were Peabody Energy’s North Antelope/Rochelle mine, with 83 Mt; Arch Coal’s Black Thunder, with 78.2 Mt; Rio Tinto Energy America’s Cordero Rojo mine, with, 36.7 Mt; Rio Tinto’s Jacobs Ranch, with 34.6 Mt and Rio Tinto’s Antelope, with 31.3 Mt. All of the top surface coal mines are located in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin coal region.