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Kentucky is worst hit by US coal downturn

Published by
World Coal,

The downturn in the US coal market has taken its toll on employment in the sector with Kentucky faring worst of coal producing states.

According to the Institute for Energy Research (IER), since 2011 coal mine employment in eastern Kentucky has dropped to 8000 from an average of 11 400 between 2000 and 2010. The number of active mines has also dropped to 161 in Q2 2013. The average in 2011 was 256.

Mines in Central Appalachia have been particularly hard hit by the downturn in the US coal industry due to their higher costs compared to Powder River Basin (PRB) coal. According to the IER, it costs electric utilities 40% more to use coal from the Bluegrass State than coal from Wyoming. Eastern Kentucky produced only 45 million t last year – a drop of 18 million t on 2011.

“President Obama’s war on coal is hitting some areas of the country harder than others,” concludes the IER. “But [the war on coal] is just starting with more regulations being proposed […] if these regulations are finalised […] many more coal miners will be without jobs.”

Adapted from press release by

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