U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
How large are U.S. coal reserves?
There are three separate components for U.S. coal reserves.
- Recoverable reserves
- Demonstrated reserve base
- Estimated recoverable reserves
In 2011, the recoverable reserves at producing (active) mines totaled 19,223 million short tons. Recoverable reserves at producing mines represent the quantity of coal that can be recovered (i.e. mined) from existing coal reserves at reporting mines. These reserves essentially reflect the working inventory at producing mines.
For 2011, the demonstrated reserve base was estimated to contain 482,898 million short tons. Demonstrated reserve base is composed of coal resources that have been identified to specified levels of accuracy and may support economic mining under current technologies. It includes publicly-available data on coal that has been mapped and verified to be technologically minable.
In 2011, the estimated recoverable reserves totaled 258,619 million short tons. Estimated recoverable reserves is coal in the demonstrated reserve base considered recoverable after excluding coal estimated to be unavailable due to land use restrictions or currently economically unattractive for mining, and after applying assumed mining recovery rates.
Last updated: November 15, 2012
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