Where the United States gets its coal

Did you know?

North Antelope Rochelle and Black Thunder mines in Wyoming each produce more coal as West Virginia, the second-largest coal-producing state. Together, the two mines produced 21% of total U.S. coal production in 2015.

In 2015,1 about 897 billion short tons of coal were produced in 25 U.S. states. Surface mines were the source of 66% of total U.S. coal production and accounted for 62% of the total number of mines. About 1.3 million tons, or about 0.2% of total coal production, was refuse recovery coal.

Five states accounted for approximately 71% of total U.S. coal production in 2015:

  • Wyoming—41.9%
  • West Virginia—10.7%
  • Kentucky—6.8%
  • Illinois—6.3%
  • Pennsylvania—5.6%

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 2015.1

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 76% 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 19% 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 34% of the region's coal production and 6% of total U.S. coal production.
  • Underground mines supplied 58% of the region's coal production, and surface mines supplied 42%.

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 produced 74% of the coal mined in the Western coal region and is the largest coal-producing state in the United States. Eight 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 91% of the coal in the Western coal region.

1Year for which final annual data were available at the time of update.