west virginia coal


Coal has been an important part of West Virginia's economy for more than a century. The existence of coal in West Virginia was first reported in the early 1700s, but large-scale mining did not begin until the mid-1800s. In the 21st century, West Virginia is the second-largest coal producer in the nation, after Wyoming. The state is also the largest producer of bituminous coal. Coal deposits underlie all but two counties, both of which are located in the state's eastern panhandle. Although coal occurs in 53 of the state's 55 counties, only 43 counties have economically recoverable reserves. All West Virginia coal is bituminous, but sulfur content varies across the state. The Central Appalachian region, which includes the southern part of West Virginia, is the nation's primary source for bituminous coal that is relatively low in sulfur. Coal from the Northern Appalachian region, which includes northern West Virginia, has relatively high sulfur contents. West Virginia is among the top three states in the nation in recoverable coal reserves at producing mines. Most of West Virginia's coal production and reserves are found in underground mines.

More than three-fourths of West Virginia's mined coal is shipped out of state, mostly to about two dozen other states, but also to other countries. About one-fourth of the state's coal production stays in West Virginia, and additional coal arrives in the state from the surrounding Appalachian region and from the Illinois Basin. Coal shipments move in and out of West Virginia by rail, barge, and truck. However, some coal is transported in state and from Pennsylvania by tramway, conveyor, or slurry pipeline. More than nine-tenths of the coal consumed in West Virginia goes to the electric power sector. Almost all of the rest is delivered to coal plants and other industrial facilities. Source: EIA (July 21, 2016)

West virginia coal miner
West virginia train full of coal