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Record demand forecast for US coal: NMA

THE National Mining Association has released its midyear forecast of coal production and demand, projecting that output requirements will reach a new record of 1.218 billion tons in 2008.

Donna Schmidt
Record demand forecast for US coal: NMA

While America's domestic economy teeters around recession, the need for coal is on an upward swing, the group said.

While 50% of the nation's electricity is coal-based and will continue at that level throughout the year, exports will also rise to meet "robust" international requirements – as much as 60 million tons, 15Mt more than forecast in January.

In total, the NMA said the standing record of 1.202Bt marked in 2006 could be beaten this year by a need estimated at 1.218Bt, which includes both domestic orders and exports.

The group noted that production from mines in the Eastern US, including Appalachia, will remain about the same, with the expanded production being met largely by operations in the Western US coal fields.

“Our forecast reflects the powerful underlying conditions that continue to drive demand for US coal, including its relative affordability, domestic abundance and reliability as a provider of electricity," NMA president Kraig Naasz said.

“Further, metallurgical coal remains a vital component of the infrastructure development that is underway in rapidly developing countries around the globe."

Its forecast was based on data reported from the association’s member companies. The midyear review, the NMA said, was completed to take into consideration the impacts of a sluggish economy paired with an increase in coal needs across the globe.

“Record demand for US coal is good news for the roughly 525,000 Americans who rely on coal for high-wage jobs and benefits in mining and with companies that make mining equipment and provide valuable services to US coal producers," said Naasz.

“At a time when so many consumers are concerned about their economic wellbeing and rising energy prices, coal remains a true American success story."

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