Ohio coal production down: report

THE Ohio Department of Natural Resources has confirmed annual data indicating a drop in production in Ohio over 2012 but says its value remains steady on high prices.
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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resource Management’s Mine Safety Training Center. Courtesy ODNR.

Donna Schmidt

The agency’s yearly Report on Ohio Mineral Industries analysed 134 coal mining operations across the state, 61 of which reported production during 2012.

In all, Ohio’s mines extracted 26.3 million short tons, down 5.7%.

The report noted a 19% jump in natural gas production during the period versus the prior year.

Oil production rose less significantly at 2%.

Of the total coal production, 7,168,585 short tons, or 27.2% of total production, came from 52 surface mines in the state and 19,175,461t – the 72.8% majority of total production – was produced at nine underground operations.

ODNR also confirmed that Ohio once again ranked 10th in the US for coal production during the year, with the top counties in Ohio being Belmont, Harrison, Perry, Tuscarawas and Jefferson.

The Pittsburgh 8 seam was the most heavily mined followed by Kittanning 6 and Meigs Creek 9.

In the state’s underground mining sector, 64.7% was produced by longwall mining and 35.3% was mined via continuous miner.

In surface operations, the vast majority, 89.6%, was mined by conventional surface methods while 3.5% came from augers. About 6.9% was mined by highwall miner.

Coal sales over the year were just over 25.5Mt, valued at $US1.18 billion, down just over 1% from 2011.

Rail was the primary means of coal disposition, carrying just under 56% of total sales, ODNR said.

Trucking transported 42.7% and water carried 1.5% of sold coal.

The agency said Ohio’s coal sales were greater than $1 billion for the fifth straight year, a trend that last occurred in the early 1980s.

Additionally, pricing was on a high, averaging $46.38 per short ton.

Surface mined coal averaged $43.92/t and underground mined coal averaged $47.33/t.

Over the course of the year, the state employed an average 2918 workers – 2189 of which were production employees working an average of 223 days to produce coal.

The average annual wage of production employees in Ohio totalled $70,854, a mean of $58,459 for surface workers and $76,228 for underground miners.

Total 2012 wages earned by all employees totalled $218,785,067 in 2012, ODNR said.