Where the United States gets its coal

Did you know?

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 22% of total U.S. coal production in 2016. The North Antelope Rochelle mine alone produced more coal in 2016 than all of West Virginia, the second-largest coal-producing state.

In 2016, about 728 million short tons of coal were produced in 25 U.S. states. Surface mines were the source of 65% of total U.S. coal production and accounted for 62% of the total number of mines. About 0.9 million tons, or about 0.1% of total coal production, was refuse recovery coal.

Five states accounted for approximately 70% of total U.S. coal production in 2016:

  • Wyoming—41%
  • West Virginia—11%
  • Pennsylvania—6%
  • Illinois—6%
  • Kentucky—6%

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).

Facts and data for each coal-producing region for 2016

Appalachian coal region

  • The Appalachian coal region includes Alabama, Eastern Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • About 25% 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 79% of the coal produced in the Appalachian coal region.

Interior coal region

  • The Interior coal region includes Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Western Kentucky.
  • About 20% 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 30% of the region's coal production and 6% of total U.S. coal production.
  • Underground mines supplied 54% of the region's coal production, and surface mines supplied 46%.

Western coal region

  • The Western coal region includes Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • About 55% 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 74% of the coal mined in the Western coal region. Seven of the top ten producing coal mines in the United States were located in Wyoming, and all of those mines are surface mines.
  • Surface mines produced 92% of the coal in the Western coal region.