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Coal explained Where our coal comes from

Where the United States gets its coal

In 2021, about 577 million short tons of coal were produced in 21 U.S. states. Surface mines were the source of 62% of total U.S. coal production and accounted for 65% of the total number of producing mines. About 0.6 million short tons, or less than 0.1% of total coal production, was refuse recovery coal. Five states accounted for 74% of total U.S. coal production in 2021.

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  • The top five coal producing states and their percentage shares of total U.S. coal production in 2021 were:
  • Wyoming41%
  • West Virginia14%
  • Pennsylvania7%
  • Illinois6%
  • Montana5%

Coal is mainly found in three regions: the Appalachian coal region, the Interior coal region, and the Western coal region (includes the Powder River Basin).

did youknow


The two largest coal mines in the United States are the North Antelope Rochelle and Black Thunder mines in Wyoming. Together, the two mines produced 21% of total U.S. coal production in 2021. The North Antelope Rochelle mine alone produced nearly the same amount of coal in 2021 as the states of Illinois and Montana combined, the fourth and fifth largest coal-producing states.

Map of the United States showing Coal Production by Coal Producing Region, 2021 (million short tons). Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Report, October 2022

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Facts and data for each coal-producing region for 2021

Appalachian coal region

  • The Appalachian coal region includes Alabama, Eastern Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • About 27% of the coal produced in the United States came from the Appalachian coal region.
  • West Virginia is the largest coal-producing state in the region and the second-largest coal-producing state in the United States.
  • Underground mines supplied 82% of the coal produced in the Appalachian region.
  • Underground mines in the Appalachian region accounted for 57% of U.S. total underground coal mine production.

Interior coal region

  • The Interior coal region includes Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Western Kentucky.
  • About 16% of total U.S. coal was mined in the Interior coal region.
  • Illinois was the largest coal producer in the Interior coal region, accounting for 39% of the region's coal production and about 6% of total U.S. coal production.
  • Underground mines supplied 67% of the region's coal production, and surface mines supplied 33%.

Western coal region

  • The Western coal region includes Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • About 57% of total U.S. coal production was mined in the Western coal region.
  • Wyoming, the largest coal-producing state in the United States, produced 41% of total U.S. coal production and 73% of the coal mined in the Western coal region.
  • Seven of the top ten largest U.S. coal-producing mines were in Wyoming, and all of those mines are surface mines.
  • Surface mines produced 91% of the coal in the Western coal region.

Last updated: October 19, 2022 with most recent data available at the time of update.