US boom beginnings

ANALYSIS of the latest official figures for US coal production in 2004, released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) this month, show the beginnings of a booming coal market companies are experiencing today.
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Staff Reporter

Domestic coal production was up 3.8% in 2004 to 1.112 billion tons.

Last year’s output was short of the industry's record 1.127 billion tons produced in 2001, while projections for 2005 show US coal production reaching 1.14 billion tons.

The electric power sector increased its consumption by 1.1%, while coal prices increased 5.7% to $US27.30 per ton.

Driven by tight demand globally coking coal prices were up 21.5% at $US61.50 in 2004. Consumption dropped by 2.4%.

U.S. coal exports rose for the second consecutive year in 2004, while coal imports again increased to record levels.

The 3.7% increase in coal production to 390 million tons in the Appalachian Region accounted for about one third of the total increase in coal output, while the Western Region was responsible for the remaining increase. The Illinois, Indiana, western Kentucky and other Midwestern regional states produced relatively static levels.

Continuing its dominance as the leading coal producing state, Wyoming accounted for 36% of total US production for the year and produced a record 396.4Mt, mostly thanks to the top 10 surface mines all located in the state. These included the North Antelope Rochelle Complex, America’s top producing mine with an output of 82.471 million tons, followed by Black Thunder with 72.22Mt.

West Virginia produced 147.9Mt, Kentucky 114.24Mt, Pennsylvania 65.99Mt, Texas 45.86Mt, Montana 39.99Mt, Colorado 39.87Mt, Indiana 35.11Mt, Illinois 31.85Mt and Virginia 31.42Mt.

Peabody Coal remained the top producer with a total output of 192.48Mt, accounting for 17% of the entire industry’s production.

Kennecott Energy & Coal Co. was the second highest company with 2004 output of 124.48Mt.

Arch Coal was next with 115.24Mt, followed by Consol Energy 65.22Mt, Foundation Coal Corp 60.42Mt and A.T. Massey 40.37Mt.

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