USGS finds 162 billion tons of recoverable coal in the Powder River Basin

THE US Geological Survey (USGS) says there are 162 billion tons of recoverable coal in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, from a total of 1.07 trillion tons of resources.
USGS finds 162 billion tons of recoverable coal in the Powder River Basin USGS finds 162 billion tons of recoverable coal in the Powder River Basin USGS finds 162 billion tons of recoverable coal in the Powder River Basin USGS finds 162 billion tons of recoverable coal in the Powder River Basin USGS finds 162 billion tons of recoverable coal in the Powder River Basin

A Peabody operation in the Powder River Basin

Staff Reporter

It estimates that 25 billion tons of those resources are currently economical to recover.

“It’s important to note … the substantial difference between what is in place and what is technically recoverable, let alone economic,” USGS acting director Suzette Kimball said.

“This new basin-wide assessment provides that critical link for government and private managers to make informed decisions.”

The Powder River Basin covers a large portion of land in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana.

The basin contains the largest deposits of low-sulfur sub-bituminous coal in the world, typically used in electric power generation.

The USGS said this study was significant because it illustrated that only a relatively small percentage of in-place coal resources were technically and economically recoverable.

In 2011, the 16 mines in the Powder River Basin produced 462 million tons of coal, about 42% of the nation’s total coal production that year.

Cloud Peak Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy and Westmoreland Coal are among the companies operating in the Powder River Basin.

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