U.S. Energy Information Administration logo
Skip to sub-navigation


This page has no sub-navigation. Skip to page content.

Browse terms related to these fuel groups:alternative fuels|coal|electricity|natural gas|nuclear|petroleum|renewable


Agglomerating character:  Agglomeration describes the caking properties of coal. Agglomerating character is determined by examination and testing of the residue when a small powdered sample is heated to 950 degrees Centigrade under specific conditions. If the sample is "agglomerating," the residue will be coherent, show swelling or cell structure, and be capable of supporting a 500-gram weight without pulverizing.

American Indian Coal Lease:  A lease granted to a mining company to produce coal from land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans, Native American tribes, and Alaska Natives in exchange for royalties and other revenues.

Anthracite:  The highest rank of coal; used primarily for residential and commercial space heating. It is a hard, brittle, and black lustrous coal, often referred to as hard coal, containing a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter. The moisture content of fresh-mined anthracite generally is less than 15 percent. The heat content of anthracite ranges from 22 to 28 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of anthracite coal consumed in the United States averages 25 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter). Note: Since the 1980's, anthracite refuse or mine waste has been used for steam electric power generation. This fuel typically has a heat content of 15 million Btu per ton or less.

As-received condition or as-received basis (coal):  Coal in the condition as received by the consumer or the laboratory analyzing the coal.

Ash:  Impurities consisting of silica, iron, alumina, and other noncombustible matter that are contained in coal. Ash increases the weight of coal, adds to the cost of handling, and can affect its burning characteristics Ash content is measured as a percent by weight of coal on an "as received" or a "dry" (moisture-free, usually part of a laboratory analysis) basis.

Auger mine:  A surface mine in which the coal bed is removed by means of a large diameter drill. Usually operated only when the overburden becomes too thick for economical strip mining.

Average Annual Percent Change (Coal):  The average annual percent change over a period of several years that is calculated by taking the nth root [where n is the number of years in the period of interest] of the result of the current year's value divided by the value of the first year of the period; this result then has 1 (one) subtracted from it and that result is then multiplied by 100.
equation for average annual percentage change
Where V0 = the value for the base period.
Vn= the value for the n th period.
n = the number of periods.

Average daily production:  The ratio of the total production at a mining operation to the total number of production days worked at the operation.

Average mine price:  The ratio of the total value of the coal produced at the mine to the total production tonnage.

Average Number of Employees (coal):  The average number of employees working in a specific year at coal mines and preparation plants. Includes maintenance, office, as well as production-related employees.

Average Open Market Sales Price (coal):  The ratio, for a specified time period, of the total value of the open market sales of coal produced at the mine to the value of the total open market sales tonnage.

Average production per miner per day:  The product of the average production per miner per hour at a mining operation and the average length of a production shift at the operation.

Average production per miner per hour:  The ratio of the total production at a mining operation to the total direct labor hours worked at the operation.

Average Recovery Percentage (coal):  The percentage of coal that can be recovered from known coal reserves at reporting mines, weight averaged for all mines in the reported geographic area.

Bituminous coal:  A dense coal, usually black, sometimes dark brown, often with well-defined bands of bright and dull material, used primarily as fuel in steam-electric power generation, with substantial quantities also used for heat and power applications in manufacturing and to make coke. Bituminous coal is the most abundant coal in active U.S. mining regions. Its moisture content usually is less than 20 percent. The heat content of bituminous coal ranges from 21 to 30 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of bituminous coal consumed in the United States averages 24 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).

Breeze:  The fine screenings from crushed coke. Usually breeze will pass through a 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch screen opening. It is most often used as a fuel source in the process of agglomerating iron ore.

British thermal unit:  The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at the temperature at which water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).

Btu:  The abbreviation for British Thermal Unit(s).

Cannel coal:  A compact, tough variety of coal, originating from organic spore residues, that is non-caking, contains a high percentage of volatile matter, ignites easily, and burns with a luminous smoky flame.

Capacity utilization:  Capacity utilization is computed by dividing production by productive capacity and multiplying by 100.

Captive coal:  Coal produced to satisfy the needs of the mine owner, or of a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of the mine owner (for example, steel companies and electricity generators), rather than for open market sale.

Carbon dioxide (CO2):  A colorless, odorless, non-poisonous gas that is a normal part of Earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a product of fossil-fuel combustion as well as other processes. It is considered a greenhouse gas as it traps heat (infrared energy) radiated by the Earth into the atmosphere and thereby contributes to the potential for global warming. The global warming potential (GWP) of other greenhouse gases is measured in relation to that of carbon dioxide, which by international scientific convention is assigned a value of one (1). Also see Global warming potential (GWP) and Greenhouse gases.

Census division:  Any of nine geographic areas of the United States as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. The divisions, each consisting of several States, are defined as follows:

  • New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont;
  • Middle Atlantic: New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania;
  • East North Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin;
  • West North Central: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota;
  • South Atlantic: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia;
  • East South Central: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee;
  • West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas;
  • Mountain: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming;
  • Pacific: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.
Note: Each division is a sub-area within a broader Census Region. For the relationship between Regions and divisions, see Census Region/division. In some cases, the Pacific division is subdivided into the Pacific Contiguous area (California, Oregon, and Washington)and the Pacific Noncontiguous area (Alaska and Hawaii).

Census Region:  Any of four geographic areas of the United States as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. The Regions, each consisting of various States selected according to population size and physical location, are defined as follows:

  • Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Note: Each region comprises two or three sub-areas called Census divisions. For the relationship between Regions and divisions, see Census Region/division.

Census Region/division:  An hierarchical organization of the United States according to geographic areas and sub-areas as follows:

    Northeast Region: New England division and Middle Atlantic division
    South Region: South Atlantic division, East South Central division and West South Central division
    Midwest Region: East North Central division and West North Central division
    West Region: Mountain division and Pacific division
Note: In some cases, the Pacific division is subdivided into the Pacific Contiguous area (California, Oregon, and Washington) and the Pacific Noncontiguous area (Alaska and Hawaii).

CIF (cargo, insurance and freight):  CIF refers to cargos for which the seller pays for the transportation and insurance up to the port of destination.

CIF (cost, insurance, freight):  This term refers to a type of sale in which the buyer of the product agrees to pay a unit price that includes the f.o.b. value of the product at the point of origin plus all costs of insurance and transportation. This type of a transaction differs from a "delivered" purchase, in that the buyer accepts the quantity as determined at the loading port (as certified by the Bill of Lading and Quality Report) rather than pay based on the quantity and quality ascertained at the unloading port. It is similar to the terms of an f.o.b. sale, except that the seller, as a service for which he is compensated, arranges for transportation and insurance.

Coal:  A readily combustible black or brownish-black rock whose composition, including inherent moisture, consists of more than 50 percent by weight and more than 70 percent by volume of carbonaceous material. It is formed from plant remains that have been compacted, hardened, chemically altered, and metamorphosed by heat and pressure over geologic time.

Coal analysis:  Determines the composition and properties of coal so it can be ranked and used most effectively.

  • Proximate analysis, determines, on an as-received basis, the moisture content, volatile matter (gases released when coal is heated), fixed carbon (solid fuel left after the volatile matter is driven off), and ash (impurities consisting of silica, iron, alumina, and other incombustible matter). The moisture content affects the ease with which coal can be handled and burned. The amount of volatile matter and fixed carbon provides guidelines for determining the intensity of the heat produced. Ash increases the weight of coal, adds to the cost of handling, and can cause problems such as clinkering and slagging in boilers and furnaces.
  • Ultimate analysis determines the amount of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. Heating value is determined in terms of Btu, both on an as received basis (including moisture) and on a dry basis.
  • Agglomerating refers to coal that softens when heated and forms a hard gray coke; this coal is called caking coal. Not all caking coals are coking coals. The agglomerating value is used to differentiate between coal ranks and also is a guide to determine how a particular coal reacts in a furnace.
  • Agglutinating refers to the binding qualities of a coal. The agglutinating value is an indication of how well a coke made from a particular coal will perform in a blast furnace. It is also called a caking index.
  • Other tests include the determination of the ash softening temperature, the ash fusion temperature (the temperature at which the ash forms clinkers or slag), the free swelling index (a guide to a coal's coking characteristics), the Gray King test (which determines the suitability of coal for making coke), and the Hardgrove grindability index (a measure of the ease with which coal can be pulverized). In a petrographic analysis, thin sections of coal or highly polished blocks of coal are studied with a microscope to determine the physical composition, both for scientific purposes and for estimating the rank and coking potential.

Coal bed:  A bed or stratum of coal. Also called a coal seam.

Coal bed degasification:  This refers to the removal of methane or coal bed gas from a coal mine before or during mining.

Coal Blending:  The process of combining two or more coals with different characteristics to obtain coal with a certain quality, such as low sulfur content.

Coal briquets:  Anthracite, bituminous, and lignite briquets comprise the secondary solid fuels manufactured from coal by a process in which the coal is partly dried, warmed to expel excess moisture, and then compressed into briquets, usually without the use of a binding substance. In the reduction of briquets to coal equivalent, different conversion factors are applied according to their origin from hard coal, peat, brown coal, or lignite.

Coal carbonized:  The amount of coal decomposed into solid coke and gaseous products by heating in a coke oven in a limited air supply or in the absence of air.

Coal chemicals:  Coal chemicals are obtained from the gases and vapor recovered from the manufacturing of coke. Generally, crude tar, ammonia, crude light oil, and gas are the basic products recovered. They are refined or processed to yield a variety of chemical materials.

Coal Classification:  In the United States, coals are classified by rank progressively from lignite (least carbonaceous) to anthracite (most carbonaceous) based on the proximate analyses of various properties (fixed carbon, volatile matter, heating value, and agglomerating character), following methods prescribed by the American Society for Testing and Materials. The International Coal Classification of the Economic Commission for Europe recognizes two broad categories of coal, “brown coal” and “hard coal.” In terms of U.S. coal classification, the international classification of brown coal includes lignite and lower-ranked subbituminous coal, whereas hard coal includes all higher rank coals. See Coal Rank.

Coal coke:  See Coke (coal).

Coal consumption:  The quantity of coal burned for the generation of electric power (in short tons), including fuel used for maintenance of standby service.

Coal delivered:  Coal which has been delivered from the coal supplier to any site belonging to the electric power company.

Coal exports:  Amount of U.S. coal shipped to foreign destinations, as reported in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census, "Monthly Report EM 545."

Coal face:  This is the exposed area from which coal is extracted.

Coal financial reporting regions:  A geographic classification of areas with coal resources which is used for financial reporting of coal statistics.

  • Eastern Region. Consists of the Appalachian Coal Basin. The following comprise the Eastern Region: Alabama, eastern Kentucky, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
  • Midwest Region. Consists of the Illinois and Michigan Coal Basins. The following comprise the Midwest Region: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and western Kentucky.
  • Western Region. Consists of the Northern Rocky, Southern Rocky, West Coast Coal Basins and Western Interior. The following comprise the Western Region: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Coal fines:  Coal with a maximum particle size usually less than one-sixteenth inch and rarely above one-eighth inch.

Coal gas:  Substitute natural gas produced synthetically by the chemical reduction of coal at a coal gasification facility.

Coal gasification:  The process of converting coal into gas. The basic process involves crushing coal to a powder, which is then heated in the presence of steam and oxygen to produce a gas. The gas is then refined to reduce sulfur and other impurities. The gas can be used as a fuel or processed further and concentrated into chemical or liquid fuel.

Coal grade:  This classification refers to coal quality and use.

  • Briquettes are made from compressed coal dust, with or without a binding agent such as asphalt.
  • Cleaned coal or prepared coal has been processed to reduce the amount of impurities present and improve the burning characteristics.
  • Compliance coal is a coal, or a blend of coal, that meets sulfur dioxide emission standards for air quality without the need for flue-gas desulfurization.
  • Culm and silt are waste materials from preparation plants. In the anthracite region, culm consists of coarse rock fragments containing as much as 30 percent small-sized coal. Silt is a mixture of very fine coal particles (approximately 40 percent) and rock dust that has settled out from waste water from the plants. The terms culm and silt are sometimes used interchangeably and are sometimes called refuse. Culm and silt have a heat value ranging from 8 to 17 million Btu per ton.
  • Low-sulfur coal generally contains 1 percent or less sulfur by weight. For air quality standards, "low sulfur coal" contains 0.6 pounds or less sulfur per million Btu, which is equivalent to 1.2 pounds of sulfur dioxide per million Btu.
  • Metallurgical coal (or coking coal) meets the requirements for making coke. It must have a low ash and sulfur content and form a coke that is capable of supporting the charge of iron ore and limestone in a blast furnace. A blend of two or more bituminous coals is usually required to make coke.
  • Pulverized coal is a coal that has been crushed to a fine dust in a grinding mill. It is blown into the combustion zone of a furnace and burns very rapidly and efficiently.
  • Slack coal usually refers to bituminous coal one-half inch or smaller in size.
  • Steam coal refers to coal used in boilers to generate steam to produce electricity or for other purposes.
  • Stoker coal refers to coal that has been crushed to specific sizes (but not powdered) for burning on a grate in automatic firing equipment.

Coal imports:  Amount of foreign coal shipped to the United States, as reported in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, "Monthly Report IM 145."

Coal liquefaction:  A chemical process that converts coal into clean-burning liquid hydrocarbons, such as synthetic crude oil and methanol.

Coal mine:  An industrial operation for extracting coal from the ground. Mines include earth-moving and excavating operations and usually incorporate activities related to the processing (cleaning and crushing or sizing) and transporting of coal (such as loading the coal into a rail car) to the end user.

Coal mining productivity:  Coal mining productivity is calculated by dividing total coal production by the total direct labor hours worked by all mine employees.

Coal preparation:  The process of sizing and cleaning coal to meet market specifications by removing impurities such as rock, sulfur, etc. It may include crushing, screening, or mechanical cleaning.

Coal Preparation Processes (Cleaning/Beneficiation/Processing):  In its broadest sense, preparation is any processing of mined coal to prepare it for market, including crushing and screening or sieving the coal to reach a uniform size, which normally results in removal of some non-coal or waste material. The term coal preparation most commonly refers to processing, including crushing and screening, passing the material through one or more processes to remove impurities, sizing the product, and loading for shipment. Many of the processes separate rock, clay, and other minerals from coal in a liquid medium; hence, the term washing is widely used. In some cases, coal passes through a drying step before loading. See Coal Washing.

Coal producing districts:  A classification of coal fields defined in the Bituminous Coal Act of 1937. The districts were originally established to aid in formulating minimum prices of bituminous and subbituminous coal and lignite. Because much statistical information was compiled in terms of these districts, their use for statistical purposes has continued since the abandonment of that legislation in 1943. District 24 was added for the anthracite-producing district in Pennsylvania.

Coal production:  The sum of sales, mine consumption, issues to miners, and issues to coke, briquetting, and other ancillary plants at mines. Production data include quantities extracted from surface and underground mines, and normally exclude wastes removed at mines or associated reparation plants.

Coal rank:  The classification of coals according to their degree of progressive alteration from lignite to anthracite. In the United States, the standard ranks of coal include lignite, subbituminous coal, bituminous coal, and anthracite and are based on fixed carbon, volatile matter, heating value, and agglomerating (or caking) properties.

Coal sampling:  The collection and proper storage and handling of a relatively small quantity of coal for laboratory analysis. Sampling may be done for a wide range of purposes, such as: coal resource exploration and assessment, characterization of their serves or production of a mine, to characterize the results of coal cleaning processes, to monitor coal shipments or receipts for adherence to coal quality contract specifications, or to subject a coal to specific combustion or reactivity tests related to the customer's intended use. During pre-development phases, such as exploration and resource assessment, sampling typically is from natural outcrops, test pits, old or existing mines in the region, drill cuttings, or drilled cores. Characterization of a mine's reserves or production may use sample collection in the mine, representative cuts from coal conveyors or from handling and loading equipment, or directly from stockpiles or shipments (coal rail cars or barges). Contract specifications rely on sampling from the production flow at the mining or coal handling facility or at the loadout, or from the incoming shipments at the receiver's facility. In all cases, the value of a sample taken depends on its being representative of the coal under consideration, which in turn requires that appropriate sampling procedures be carefully followed. For coal resource and estimated reserve characterization, appropriate types of samples include:

  • Face channel or channel sample: a sample taken at the exposed coal in a mine by cutting away any loose or weathered coal then collecting on a clean surface a sample of the coal seam by chopping out a channel of uniform width and depth; a face channel or face sample is taken at or near the working face, the most freshly exposed coal where actual removal and loading of mined coal is taking place. Any partings greater than 3/8 inch and/or mineral concretions greater than 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches in maximum diameter are normally discarded from a channel sample so as better to represent coal that has been mined, crushed, and screened to remove at least gross non-coal materials.
  • Column sample: a channel or drill core sample taken to represent the entire geologic coalbed; it includes all partings and impurities that may exist in the coalbed.
  • Bench sample: a face or channel sample taken of just that contiguous portion of a coalbed that is considered practical to mine, also known as a "bench;" For example, bench samples may be taken of minable coal where impure coal that makes up part of the geologic coalbed is likely to be left in the mine, or where thick partings split the coal into two or more distinct minable seams, or where extremely thick coalbeds cannot be recovered by normal mining equipment, so that the coal is mined in multiple passes, or benches, usually defined along natural bedding planes.
  • Composite sample: a recombined coalbed sample produced by averaging together thickness-weighted coal analyses from partial samples of the coalbed, such as from one or more bench samples, from one or more mine exposures or outcrops where the entire bed could not be accessed in one sample, or from multiple drill cores that were required to retrieve all local sections of a coal seam.

Coal stocks:  Coal quantities that are held in storage for future use and disposition. Note: When coal data are collected for a particular reporting period (month, quarter, or year), coal stocks are commonly measured as of the last day of this period.

Coal sulfur:  Coal sulfur occurs in three forms: organic, sulfate, and pyritic. Organic sulfur is an integral part of the coal matrix and cannot be removed by conventional physical separation. Sulfate sulfur is usually negligible. Pyritic sulfur occurs as the minerals pyrite and marcasite; larger sizes generally can be removed by cleaning the coal.

Coal synfuel:  Coal-based solid fuel that has been processed by a coal synfuel plant; and coal-based fuels such as briquettes, pellets, or extrusions, which are formed from fresh or recycled coal and binding materials.

Coal type:  The classification is based on physical characteristics or microscopic constituents. Examples of coal types are banded coal, bright coal, cannel coal, and splint coal. The term is also used to classify coal according to heat and sulfur content. See Coal grade.

Coal Washing:  The treatment of coal to remove waste material such as: Dense (heavy) medium processes use a thick solution, usually a mixture of magnetite and water, to separate coal from impurities, such as sulfur, ash, and mercury, by gravity separation. Flotation processes treat fine-sized coal with an oil-based reagent that attracts air bubbles in a liquid medium; the coal floats to the surface as froth, leaving the refuse below. Hydraulic processes use currents of water to separate coal from impurities. Pneumatic processes use currents of air to separate coal from impurities.

Coal zone:  A series of laterally extensive and (or) lenticular coal beds and associated strata that arbitrarily can be viewed as a unit. Generally, the coal beds in a coal zone are assigned to the same geologic member or formation.

Coal-producing regions:  A geographic classification of areas where coal is produced.

  • Appalachian Region: Consists of Alabama, Eastern Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Northern Appalachian Region: Consists of Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Northern West Virginia.
  • Central Appalachian Region: Consists of Eastern Kentucky, Virginia, Southern West Virginia, and the Tennessee counties of: Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Cumberland, Fentress, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Roane, and Scott.
  • Southern Appalachian Region: Consists of Alabama, and the Tennessee counties of: Bledsoe, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, Rhea, Sequatchie, Van Buren, Warren, and White.
  • Interior Region (with Gulf Coast): Consists of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Western Kentucky.
  • Illinois Basin: Consists of Illinois, Indiana, and Western Kentucky.
  • Western Region: Consists of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • Powder River Basin: Consists of the Montana counties of Big Horn, Custer, Powder River, Rosebud, and Treasure and the Wyoming counties of Campbell, Converse, Crook, Johnson, Natrona, Niobrara, Sheridan, and Weston.
  • Uinta Basin: Consists of the Colorado counties of Delta, Garfield, Gunnison, Mesa, Moffat, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt and the Utah counties of Carbon, Duchesne, Emery, Grand, Sanpete, Sevier, Uintah, Utah, and Wasatch.

Coal-Producing States:  The States where mined and/or purchased coal originates are defined as follows: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky Eastern, Kentucky Western, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania anthracite, Pennsylvania bituminous, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia Northern, West Virginia Southern, and Wyoming.

The following coal-producing States are split in origin of coal, as defined by:

  • Kentucky, Eastern. All mines in the following counties in Eastern Kentucky: Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Clinton, Elliot, Estill, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.
  • Kentucky, Western. All mines in the following counties in Western Kentucky: Breckinridge, Butler, Caldwell, Christian, Crittenden, Daviess, Edmonson, Grayson, Hancock, Hart, Henderson, Hopkins, Logan, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Todd, Union, Warren, and Webster.
  • Pennsylvania Anthracite. All mines in the following counties: Carbon, Columbia, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Sullivan, and Susquehanna. All anthracite mines in Bradford County.
  • Pennsylvania Bituminous. All mines located in the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, Somerset, Venango, Washington, and Westmoreland, and all bituminous mines in Bradford County.
  • West Virginia, Northern. All mines in the following counties (formerly defined as Coal-Producing Districts 1, 3, ): Barbour, Brooke, Braxton, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Grant, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Lewis, Marion, Marshall, Mineral, Monongalia, Ohio, Pleasants, Preston, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, and Wood.
  • West Virginia, Southern. All mines in the following counties (formerly Defined as Coal-Producing Districts 7 ): Boone, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Putnam, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, and Wyoming.

Coalbed Methane Well Gas:  Methane produced from coal seams. Coalbed methane is formed during coalification, which is the geologic process that transforms organic material into coal.

Cogenerator:  A generating facility that produces electricity and another form of useful thermal energy (such as heat or steam), used for industrial, commercial, heating, or cooling purposes. To receive status as a qualifying facility (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), the facility must produce electric energy and "another form of useful thermal energy through the sequential use of energy" and meet certain ownership, operating, and efficiency criteria established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).(See the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, Part 292.)

Coke (coal):  A solid carbonaceous residue derived from low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal from which the volatile constituents are driven off by baking in an oven at temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit so that the fixed carbon and residual ash are fused together. Coke is used as a fuel and as a reducing agent in smelting iron ore in a blast furnace. Coke from coal is grey, hard, and porous and has a heating value of 24.8 million Btu per ton.

Coke (petroleum):  A residue high in carbon content and low in hydrogen that is the final product of thermal decomposition in the condensation process in cracking. This product is reported as marketable coke or catalyst coke. The conversion is 5 barrels (of 42 U.S. gallons each) per short ton.

Coke Battery:  A series of coke ovens stacked in rows into which coal is loaded and processed into coke.

Coke Oven:  A chamber of brick or other heat-resistant material in which coal is heated to separate the coal gas, coal water, and tar. The coal gas and coal water fuse together with carbon and the remaining ash, forming a hard residue commonly referred to as coke. Coke is primarily used in steel production. There are two types of coke ovens: (1) beehive ovens, which were originally built round with a spherical top like an old-fashioned beehive, and have an opening in the top and various small openings for draft at the base. The ovens were developed into banks (rows) of joining cubicles. During the heating process of the coal, tar, gas, and other byproducts are lost. (2) Byproduct ovens, which were built in rectangular form with the front and back removable, and which are arranged so that all volatile byproducts can be pumped out.

Coke plants:  Plants where coal is carbonized for the manufacture of coke in slot or beehive ovens.

Coking coal:  Bituminous coal suitable for making coke. See coke (coal).

Compliance coal:  A coal or a blend of coals that meets sulfur dioxide emission standards for air quality without the need for flue gas desulfurization.

Continuous mining:  A form of room pillar mining in which a continuous mining machine extracts and removes coal from the working face in one operation; no blasting is required.

Conventional mining:  The oldest form of room pillar mining, which consists of a series of operations that involve cutting the coal bed, so it breaks easily when blasted with explosives or high pressure air, and then loading the broken coal.

Cost, insurance, freight (CIF):  A type of sale in which the buyer of the product agrees to pay a unit price that includes the f.o.b. value of the product at the point of origin plus all costs of insurance and transportation. This type of transaction differs from a "delivered" purchase in that the buyer accepts the quantity as determined at the loading port (as certified by the Bill of Lading and Quality Report) rather than pay on the basis of the quantity and quality ascertained at the unloading port. It is similar to the terms of an f.o.b. sale except that the seller, as a service for which he is compensated, arranges for transportation and insurance.

Culm:  Waste from Pennsylvania anthracite preparation plants, consisting of coarse rock fragments containing as much as 30 percent small sized coal; sometimes defined as including very fine coal particles called silt. Its heat value ranges from 8 to 17 million Btu per short ton.

Cumulative depletion:  The sum in tons of coal extracted and lost in mining as of a stated date for a specified area or a specified coal bed.

Customs district (coal):  Customs districts, as defined by the Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, " Monthly Report EM 545, " are as follows:

  • Eastern: Bridgeport, CT, Washington, DC, Boston, MA, Baltimore, MD, Portland, ME, Buffalo, NY, New York City, NY, Ogdensburg, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Providence, RI, Norfolk, VA, St. Albans, VT.
  • Southern: Mobile, AL, Savannah, GA, Miami, FL, Tampa, FL, New Orleans, LA, Wilmington, NC, San Juan, PR, Charleston, SC, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, El Paso, TX, Houston-Galveston, TX, Laredo, TX, Virgin Islands.
  • Western: Anchorage, AK, Nogales, AZ, Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA, San Francisco, CA, Honolulu, HI, Great Falls, MT, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA.
  • Northern: Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, Duluth, MN, Minneapolis, MN, St. Louis, MO, Pembina, ND, Cleveland, OH, Milwaukee, WI.

Demonstrated reserve base (coal):  A collective term for the sum of coal in both measured and indicated resource categories of reliability, representing 100 percent of the in-place coal in those categories as of a certain date that meet specific minability criteria. Includes beds of bituminous coal and anthracite 28 or more inches thick and beds of subbituminuous coal 60 or more inches thick that can occur at depths of up to 1,000 feet. Includes beds of lignite 60 or more inches thick that can be surface mined. Includes also thinner and/or deeper beds that presently are being mined or for which there is evidence that they could be mined commercially at a given time. Represents that portion of the identified coal resource from which reserves are calculated.

Demonstrated resources:  Same qualifications as identified resources, but include measured and indicated degrees of geologic assurance and excludes the inferred.

Depleted resources:  Resources that have been mined; include coal recovered, coal lost in mining, and coal reclassified as subeconomic because of mining.

Depletion (coal):  The subtraction of both tonnage produced and the tonnage lost to mining from identified resources to determine the remaining tonnage as of a certain time.

Depletion factor:  The multiplier applied to the tonnage produced to compute depletion. This multiplier takes into account both the tonnage recovered and the tonnage lost due to mining. The depletion factor is the reciprocal of the recovery factor in relation to a given quantity of production.

Direct labor hours:  Direct labor hours worked by all mining employees at a mining operation during the year. Includes hours worked by those employees engaged in production, preparation, development, maintenance, repair, shop or yard work management, and technical or engineering work. Excludes office workers. Excludes vacation and leave hours.

Dredge mining:  A method of recovering coal from rivers or streams.

Drift mine:  A mine that opens horizontally into the coal bed or coal outcrop.

Dry (coal) basis:  Coal quality data calculated to at heoretical basis in which no moisture is associated with the sample. This basis is determined by measuring the weight loss of a sample when its inherent moisture is driven off under controlled conditions of low temperature air-drying followed by heating to just above the boiling point of water (104 to 110 degrees Centigrade).

Electric power plant:  A station containing prime movers, electric generators, and auxiliary equipment for converting mechanical, chemical, and/or fission energy into electric energy.

Electric power system:  An individual electric power entity--a company; an electric cooperative; a public electric supply corporation as the Tennessee Valley Authority; a similar Federal department or agency such as the Bonneville Power Administration; the Bureau of Reclamation or the Corps of Engineers; a municipally owned electric department offering service to the public; or an electric public utility district (a "PUD"); also a jointly owned electric supply project such as the Keystone.

Electric utility sector:  The electric utility sector consists of privately and publicly owned establishments that generate, transmit, distribute, or sell electricity primarily for use by the public and that meet the definition of an electric utility. Non utility power producers are not included in the electric sector.

Energy:  The capacity for doing work as measured by the capability of doing work (potential energy) or the conversion of this capability to motion (kinetic energy). Energy has several forms, some of which are easily convertible and can be changed to another form useful for work. Most of the world's convertible energy comes from fossil fuels that are burned to produce heat that is then used as a transfer medium to mechanical or other means in order to accomplish tasks. Electrical energy is usually measured in kilowatthours, while heat energy is usually measured in British thermal units (Btu).

Energy consumption:  The use of energy as a source of heat or power or as a raw material input to a manufacturing process.

Environmental restrictions:  In reference to coal accessibility, land-use restrictions that constrain, postpone, or prohibit mining in order to protect environmental resources of an area; for example, surface- or ground water quality, air quality affected by mining, or plants or animals or their habitats.

Estimated Recoverable Reserves (coal):  An estimate of coal reserves, based on a demonstrated reserve base, adjusted for assumed accessibility and recovery factors, and does not include any specific economic feasibility criteria.

f.a.s. value:  Free alongside ship value. The value of a commodity at the port of exportation, generally including the purchase price plus all charges incurred in placing the commodity alongside the carrier at the port of exportation in the country of exportation.

Federal coal lease:  A lease granted to a mining company to produce coal from land owned and administered by the Federal Government in exchange for royalties and other revenues.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC):  The Federal agency with jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, oil pipeline rates, and gas pipeline certification. FERC is an independent regulatory agency within the Department of Energy and is the successor to the Federal Power Commission.

Fixed carbon:  The nonvolatile matter in coal minus the ash. Fixed carbon is the solid residue other than ash obtained by prescribed methods of destructive distillation of a coal. Fixed carbon is the part of the total carbon that remains when coal is heated in a closed vessel until all matter is driven off.

Floor (coal):  The upper surface of the stratum underlying a coal seam. In coals that were formed in persistent swamp environments, the floor is typically a bed of clay, known as "underclay," representing the soil in which the trees or other coal-forming swamp vegetation was rooted.

Foreign-controlled firms (coal):  Foreign-controlled firms are U.S. coal producers with more than 50 percent of their stock or assets owned by a foreign firm.

Fossil fuel electric generation:  Electric generation in which the prime mover is an internal combustion engine or a turbine rotated by high-pressure steam produced in a boiler or by a hot exhaust gas produced from the burning of fossil fuels.

Geologic assurance:  State of sureness, confidence, or certainty of the existence of a quantity of resources based on the distance from points where coal is measured or sampled and on the abundance and quality of geologic data as related to thickness of over burden, rank, quality, thickness of coal, areal extent, geologic history, structure, and correlations of coal beds and enclosing rocks. The degree of assurance increases as the nearness to points of control, abundance, and quality of geologic data increases.

Geologic considerations:  Conditions in the coal deposit or in the rocks in which it occurs that may complicate or preclude mining. Geologic considerations are evaluated in the context of the current state of technology and regulations, so the impact on mining may change with time.

Geothermal energy:  Hot water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs in the earth's crust. Water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs can be used for geothermal heat pumps, water heating, or electricity generation.

Gob:  To leave in a mine coal and other materials that cannot be sold.

Gob Pile:  A pile of loose waste material in a mine, or backfill waste material packed in stopes (steps or layers) to support the roof of a mine. A gob pile is also called a “honey” or “refuse” pile. This term is primarily used in underground mining.

Gross domestic product (GDP):  The total value of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States. As long as the labor and property are located in the United States, the supplier (that is, the workers and, for property, the owners) may be either U.S. residents or residents of foreign countries.

Hand loading:  An underground loading method by which coal is removed from the working face by manual labor through the use of a shovel for conveyance to the surface. Though rapidly disappearing, it is still used in small-tonnage mines.

Highwall:  The unexcavated face of exposed over-burden and coal in a surface mine.

Hydroelectric power:  The use of flowing water to produce electrical energy.

Hypothetical resources (coal):  Undiscovered coal resources in beds that may reasonably be expected to exist in known mining districts under known geologic conditions. In general, hypothetical resources are in broad areas of coal fields where points of observation are absent and evidence is from distant outcrops, drill holes, or wells. Exploration that confirms their existence and better defines their quantity and quality would permit their reclassification as identified resources. Quantitative estimates are based on a broad knowledge of the geologic character of coalbed or region. Measurements of coal thickness are more than 6 miles apart. The assumption of continuity of coalbed is supported only by geologic evidence.

Identified resources:  Coal deposits whose location, rank, quality, and quantity are known from geologic evidence supported by engineering measurements. Included are beds of bituminous coal and anthracite (14 or more inches thick) and beds of subbituminous coal and lignite (30 or more inches thick) that occur at depths to 6,000 feet. The existence and quantity of these beds have been delineated within specified degrees of geologic assurance as measured, indicated, or inferred. Also included are thinner and/or deeper beds that presently are being mined or for which there is evidence that they could be mined commercially.

Implicit price deflator:  The implicit price deflator, published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, is used to convert nominal figures to real figures.

Indicated resources, coal:  Coal for which estimates of the rank, quality, and quantity are based partly on sample analyses and measurements and partly on reasonable geologic projections. Indicated resources are computed partly from specified measurements and partly from projection of visible data for a reasonable distance on the basis of geologic evidence. The points of observation are 1/2 to 1-1/2miles apart. Indicated coal is projected to extend as a 1/2-mile-widebelt that lies more than 1/4 mile from the outcrop, points of observation, or measurement.

Industrial restrictions (coal):  Land-use restrictions that constrain, postpone, or prohibit mining in order to meet other industrial needs or goals; for example, resources not mined due to safety concerns or due to industrial or societal priorities, such as to preserve oil or gas wells that penetrate the coal reserves; to protect surface features such as pipelines, power lines, or company facilities; or to preserve public or private assets, such as highways, railroads, parks, or buildings.

Industrial sector:  An energy-consuming sector that consists of all facilities and equipment used for producing, processing, or assembling goods. The industrial sector encompasses the following types of activity manufacturing (NAICS codes 31-33); agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (NAICS code 11); mining, including oil and gas extraction (NAICS code 21); and construction (NAICS code 23). Overall energy use in this sector is largely for process heat and cooling and powering machinery, with lesser amounts used for facility heating, air conditioning, and lighting. Fossil fuels are also used as raw material inputs to manufactured products. Note: This sector includes generators that produce electricity and/or useful thermal output primarily to support the above-mentioned industrial activities. Various EIA programs differ in sectoral coverage.

Inferred reserve base (coal):  the resources in the inferred reliability category that meet the same criteria of bed thickness and depth from surface as the demonstrated reserve base.

Inferred resources:  Coal in unexplored extensions of demonstrated resources for which estimates of the quality and size are based on geologic evidence and projection. Quantitative estimates are based largely on broad knowledge of the geologic character of the bed or region and where few measurements of bed thickness are available. The estimates are based primarily on an assumed continuation from demonstrated coal for which there is geologic evidence. The points of observation are 1-1/2 to 6 miles apart. Inferred coal is projected to extend as a 2-1/4-mile wide belt that lies more than 3/4 mile from the outcrop, points of observation, or measurement.

Interburden:  Material of any nature that lies between or separates coal seams. Term is primarily used in surface mining.

Isopach:  A line on a map drawn through points of equal thickness of a designated unit (such as a coal bed).

Land-use restrictions:  Constraints placed upon mining by societal policies to protect surface features or entities that could be affected by mining. Because laws and regulations may be modified or repealed, the restrictions, including industrial and environmental restrictions, are subject to change.

Lignite:  The lowest rank of coal, often referred to as brown coal, used almost exclusively as fuel for steam-electric power generation. It is brownish-black and has a high inherent moisture content, sometimes as high as 45 percent The heat content of lignite ranges from 9 to 17 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of lignite consumed in the United States averages 13 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e. containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).

Longwall mining:  An automated form of underground coal mining characterized by high recovery and extraction rates, feasible only in relatively flat-lying, thick, and uniform coalbeds. A high-powered cutting machine is passed across the exposed face of coal, shearing away broken coal, which is continuously hauled away by a floor-level conveyor system. Longwall mining extracts all machine-minable coal between the floor and ceiling within a contiguous block of coal, known as a panel, leaving no support pillars within the panel area. Panel dimensions vary over time and with mining conditions but currently average about 900 feet wide (coal face width) and more than 8,000 feet long (the minable extent of the panel, measured indirection of mining). Longwall mining is done under movable roof supports that are advanced as the bed is cut. The roof in the mined-out area is allowed to fall as the mining advances.

Low volatile bituminous coal:  See Bituminous Coal.

Manufacturing:  An energy-consuming subsector of the industrial sector that consists of all facilities and equipment engaged in the mechanical, physical, chemical, or electronic transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products. Assembly of component parts of products is included, except for that which is included in construction.

Measured resources, coal:  Coal resources for which estimates of the rank, quality, and quantity have been computed, within a margin of error of less than 20 percent, from sample analyses and measurements from closely spaced and geologically well known sample sites. Measured resources are computed from dimensions revealed in outcrops, trenches, mine workings, and drill holes. The points of observation and measurement are so closely spaced and the thickness and extent of coals are so well defined that the tonnage is judged to be accurate within 20 percent. Although the spacing of the points of observation necessary to demonstrate continuity of the coal differs from region to region, according to the character of the coalbeds, the point of observation are no greater than 1/2 mile apart. Measured coal is projected to extend as a belt 1/4 mile wide from the outcrop or points of observation or measurement.

Medium-volatile bituminous coal:  See Bituminous coal.

Meta-anthracite:  See Anthracite.

Metallurgical coal:  Coking coal and pulverized coal consumed in making steel.

Metric ton (mt):  A unit of weight equal to 2,204.6 pounds.

Minable:  Capable of being mined under current mining technology and environmental and legal restrictions, rules, and regulations.

Mine Type:  See Surface Mine and Underground Mine.

Mineral-matter-free basis:  Mineral matter in coal is the parent material in coal from which ash is derived and which comes from minerals present in the original plant materials that formed the coal, or from extraneous sources such as sediments and precipitates from mineralized water. Mineral matter in coal cannot be analytically determined and is commonly calculated using data on ash and ash-forming constituents. Coal analyses are calculated to the mineral matter free basis by adjusting formulas used in calculations in order to deduct the weight of mineral matter from the total coal.

Moist (coal) basis:  Moist coal contains its natural inherent or bed moisture, but does not include water adhering to the surface. Coal analyses expressed on a moist basis are performed or adjusted so as to describe the data when the coal contains only that moisture that exists in the bed in its natural state of deposition and when the coal has not lost any moisture due to drying.

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System):  A coding system developed jointly by the United States, Canada, and Mexico to classify businesses and industries according to the type of economic activity in which they are engaged. NAICS replaces the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.

Natural gas:  A gaseous mixture of hydrocarbon compounds, the primary one being methane.

Natural gas, "dry":  See Dry natural gas.

Nominal price:  The price paid for a product or service at the time of the transaction. Nominal prices are those that have not been adjusted to remove the effect of changes in the purchasing power of the dollar; they reflect buying power in the year in which the transaction occurred.

Non-combustion use:  Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum products) that are not burned to release energy and instead used directly as construction materials, chemical feedstocks, lubricants, solvents, waxes, and other products. “Non-combustion use” is sometimes used synonymously with “Nonfuel use (of energy).”

Non-Combustion Use:  Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum products) that are not burned to release energy and instead used directly as construction materials, chemical feedstocks, lubricants, solvents, waxes, and other products. “Non-combustion use” is sometimes used synonymously with “Nonfuel use (of energy).”

Non-metallurgical coal:  Coal that is not expected to be used in coke ovens to produce coke.

Nonutility power producer:  A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns or operates facilities for electric generation and is not an electric utility. Nonutility power producers include qualifying cogenerators, qualifying small power producers, and other nonutility generators (including independent power producers). Non-utility power producers are without a designated franchised service area and do not file forms listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, Part 141

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS):  A new classification scheme, developed by the Office of Management and Budget to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System, that categorizes establishments according to the types of production processes they primarily use.

Nuclear electric power (nuclear power):  Electricity generated by the use of the thermal energy released from the fission of nuclear fuel in a reactor.

Number of mines:  The number of mines, or mines collocated with preparation plants or tipples, located in a particular geographic area (State or region). If a mine is mining coal across two counties within a State, or across two States, then it is counted as two operations. This is done so that EIA can separate production by State and county.

Number of mining operations:  The number of mining operations includes preparation plants with greater than 5,000 total direct labor hours. Mining operations that consist of a mine and preparation plant, or a preparation plant only, will be counted as two operations if the preparation plant processes both underground and surface coal. Excluded are silt, culm, refuse bank, slurry dam, and dredge operations except for Pennsylvania anthracite. Excludes mines producing less than 10,000 short tons of coal during the year.

Open Market Coal:  Coal sold in the open market (i.e., coal sold to companies other than in the reporting company’s parent company or an operating subsidiary of the parent company).

Operating subsidiary:  Company that operates a coal mining operation and is owned by another company (i.e., the parent company).

Other Hydrocarbons:  Materials received by a refinery and consumed as a raw material. Includes hydrogen, coal tar derivatives, gilsonite. Excludes natural gas used for fuel or hydrogen feedstock.

Other industrial plant:  Industrial users, not including coke plants, engaged in the mechanical or chemical transformation of materials or substances into new products (manufacturing); and companies engaged in the agriculture, mining, or construction industries.

Other power producers:  Independent power producers that generate electricity and cogeneration plants that are not included in the other industrial, coke and commercial sectors.

Overburden:  Any material, consolidated or unconsolidated, that overlies a coal deposit.

Parent company:  An affiliated company that exercises ultimate control over a business entity, either directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries.

Parting:  A layer of rock within a coalbed that lies roughly parallel to the coalbed and has the effect of splitting the bed into two divisions.

Percent utilization:  The ratio of total production to productive capacity, times 100.

Photovoltaic and solar thermal energy (as usedat electric utilities):  Energy radiated by the sun as electromagnetic waves (electromagnetic radiation) that is converted at electric utilities into electricity by means of solar (photovoltaic) cells or concentrating (focusing) collectors.

Producer and distributor coal stocks:  Producer and distributor coal stocks consist of coal held in stock by producers/distributors at the end of a reporting period.

Production capacity:  The amount of product that can be produced from processing facilities.

Productive capacity:  The maximum amount of coal that a mining operation can produce or process during a period with the existing mining equipment and/or preparation plant in place, assuming that the labor and materials sufficient to utilize the plant and equipment are available, and that the market exists for the maximum production.

Quadrillion:  The quantity 1,000,000,000,000,000(10 to the 15th power).

Quality or grade (of coal):  An informal classification of coal relating to its suitability for use for a particular purpose. Refers to individual measurements such as heat value, fixed carbon, moisture, ash, sulfur, major, minor, and trace elements, coking properties, petrologic properties, and particular organic constituents. The individual quality elements may be aggregated in various ways to classify coal for such special purposes as metallurgical, gas, petrochemical, and blending usages.

Raw Coal:  Coal that has received no preparation other than possibly screening.

Real price:  A price that has been adjusted to remove the effect of changes in the purchasing power of the dollar. Real prices, which are expressed in constant dollars, usually reflect buying power relative to a base year.

Recoverability:  In reference to accessible coal resources, the condition of being physically, technologically, and economically minable. Recovery rates and recovery factors may be determined or estimated for coal resources without certain knowledge of their economic minability; therefore, the availability of recovery rates or factors does not predict recoverability.

Recoverable coal:  Coal that is, or can be, extracted from a coal bed during mining.

Recoverable Resources of Coal:  The sum of measured resources plus indicated resources.

Recovery factor (coal):  The percentage of total tons of coal estimated to be recoverable from a given area in relation to the total tonnage estimated to be in the demonstrated reserve base. The estimated recovery factors for the demonstrated reserve base generally are 50 percent for underground mining methods and 80 percent for surface mining methods. More precise recovery factors can be computed by determining the total coal in place and the total recoverable in any specific locale.

Recovery percentage (coal):  The percentage of coal that can be recovered from the coal deposits at existing mines.

Refined coal:  A coal product that is created when impurities and/or moisture are removed to improve heat content and reduce emissions. Includes any coal that meets the IRS definition of refined coal (Notice 2010-54 or any superseding IRS notices). Does not include coal processed by coal preparation plants.

Refuse bank:  A repository for waste material generated by the coal cleaning process.

Refuse mine:  A surface mine where coal is recovered from previously mined coal. It may also be known as a silt bank, culm bank, refuse bank, slurry dam, or dredge operation.

Refuse recovery:  The recapture of coal from a refuse mine or the coal recaptured by that process. The resulting product has been cleaned to reduce the concentration of noncombustible materials.

Refuse-derived fuel (RDF):  A fuel produced by shredding municipal solid waste (MSW). Noncombustible materials such as glass and metals are generally removed prior to making RDF. The residual material is sold as-is or compressed into pellets, bricks, or logs. RDF processing facilities are typically located near a source of MSW, while the RDF combustion facility can be located elsewhere.

Regional reserves, regional reserve estimates (coal):  Same as reserves; alternative wording is used by EIA to distinguish regional reserves, which are derived by factoring (downward) from a demonstrated reserve base for one or more study areas or regions, from reserves at active mines, which are aggregated (upward) from reserve estimates reported by individual mines on Form EIA-7A.

Remaining (resources/reserves) (coal) :  The amount of coal in the ground after some mining, excluding coal in the ground spoiled or left in place for which later recovery is not feasible.

Report year (calendar):  The 12-month period, January 1 through December 31

Reserve:  That portion of the demonstrated reserve base that is estimated to be recoverable at the time of determination. The reserve is derived by applying a recovery factor to that component of the identified coal resource designated as the demonstrated reserve base.

Residential/commercial (consumer category):  Housing units, wholesale or retail businesses (except coal wholesale dealers); health institutions (hospitals, social and educational institutions (schools and universities); and Federal, state, and local governments (military installations, prisons, office buildings, etc.). Excludes shipments to Federal power projects, such as TVA, and rural electrification cooperatives, power districts, and state power projects.

Resources (Coal) :  Naturally occurring concentrations or deposits of coal in the Earth's crust, in such forms and amounts that economic extraction is currently or potentially feasible.

Roof (coal):  The rock immediately above a coal seam. The roof is commonly a shale, often carbonaceous and softer than rocks higher up in the roof strata.

Room-and-pillar mining:  The most common method of underground mining in which the mine roof is supported mainly by coal pillars left at regular intervals. Rooms are places where the coal is mined; pillars are areas of coal left between the rooms. Room-and-pillar mining is done either by conventional or continuous mining.

Royalties (coal):  Payments from a lessee to the lessor, for the use of the lessor’s coal resources. Payments are made in money or in for a stated share of production from the lessor’s mineral deposits. Royalty rates may be expressed as an established minimum, a sliding-scale, or a step-scale. A step-scale royalty rate increases by steps as the average production on the lease increases. A sliding-scale royalty rate is based on average production and applies to all production from the lease.

Run-of-mine coal:  Coal as it comes from the mine prior to screening or any other treatment.

Salable coal:  The shippable product of a coal mine or preparation plant. Depending on customer specifications, salable coal may be run-of-mine, crushed-and-screened (sized) coal, or the clean coal yield from a preparation plant.

Sales volume (coal):  The reported output from Federal and/or Indian lands, the basis of royalties. It is approximately equivalent to production, which includes coal sold, and coal added to stockpiles.

Sample (coal):  A representative fraction of a coalbed collected by approved methods, guarded against contamination or adulteration, and analyzed to determine the nature; chemical, mineralogic, and (or) petrographic composition; percentage or parts-per-million content of specified constituents; heat value; and possibly the reactivity of the coal or its constituents.

Scoop loading:  An underground loading method by which coal is removed from the working face by a tractor unit equipped with a hydraulically operated bucket attached to the front; also called a front-end loader.

Seam:  A bed of coal lying between a roof and floor. Equivalent term to bed, commonly used by industry.

Semianthracite:  See Anthracite

Shaft mine:  A mine that reaches the coal bed by means of a vertical shaft.

Short ton (st):  A unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds.

Shortwall mining:  A form of underground mining that involves the use of a continuous mining machine and movable roof supports to shear coal panels 150 to 200 feet wide and more than half a mile long. Although similar to longwall mining, shortwall mining is generally more flexible because of the smaller working area. Productivity is lower than with longwall mining because the coal is hauled to the mine face by shuttle cars as opposed to conveyors.

Silt:  Waste from Pennsylvania anthracite preparation plants, consisting of coarse rock fragments containing as much as 30 percent small-sized coal; sometimes defined as including very fine coal particles called silt. Its heat value ranges from 8 to 17 million Btu per short ton. Synonymous with culm.

Silt, culm, refuse bank, or slurry dam mining:  A mining operation producing coal from these sources of coal.

Slope mine:  A mine that reaches the coal bed by means of an inclined opening.

Slurry dam:  A repository for the silt or culm from a preparation plant.

Solar energy:  The radiant energy of the sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.

Solvent Refined Coal (SRC):  A tar-like fuel produced from coal when it is crushed and mixed with a hydrocarbon solvent at high temperature and pressure.

Speculative resources (coal):  Undiscovered coal in beds that may occur either in known types of deposits in a favorable geologic setting where no discoveries have been made, or in deposits that remain to be recognized. Exploration that confirms their existence and better defines their quantity and quality would permit their reclassification as identified resources.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC):  Replaced with North American Industry Classification System. See NAICS.

Steam coal:  Coal burned, primarily in boilers, to generate steam for the production of electricity or for process heating purposes, or used as a direct source of process heat. Steam coal, also known as thermal coal, refers to all coal not classified as coking (or metallurgical) coal. See coal grade.

Stocks:  Inventories of fuel stored for future use.

Strip or stripping ratio:  The amount of overburden that must be removed to gain access to a unit amount of coal. A stripping ratio may be expressed as (1) thickness of overburden to thickness of coal, (2) volume of overburden to volume coal, (3) weight of overburden to weight of coal, or (4) cubic yards of overburden to tons of coal. A stripping ratio commonly is used to express the maximum thickness, volume, or weight of overburden that can be profitably removed to obtain a unit amount of coal.

Subbituminous coal:  A coal whose properties range from those of lignite to those of bituminous coal and used primarily as fuel for steam-electric power generation. It may be dull, dark brown to black, soft and crumbly, at the lower end of the range, to bright, jet black, hard, and relatively strong, at the upper end. Subbituminous coal contains 20 to 30 percent inherent moisture by weight. The heat content of subbituminous coal ranges from 17 to 24 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of subbituminous coal consumed in the United States averages 17 to 18 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e., containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).

Sulfur:  A yellowish nonmetallic element, sometimes known as "brimstone." It is present at various levels of concentration in many fossil fuels whose combustion releases sulfur compounds that are considered harmful to the environment. Some of the most commonly used fossil fuels are categorized according to their sulfur content, with lower sulfur fuels usually selling at a higher price. Note: No.2 Distillate fuel is currently reported as having either a 0.05 percent or lower sulfur level for on-highway vehicle use or a greater than 0.05 percent sulfur level for off-highway use, home heating oil, and commercial and industrial uses. Residual fuel, regardless of use, is classified as having either no more than 1 percent sulfur or greater than 1 percent sulfur. Coal is also classified as being low- sulfur at concentrations of 1 percent or less or high-sulfur at concentrations greater than 1 percent.

Tipple:  A central facility used in loading coal for transportation by rail or truck.

Transportation sector:  An energy-consuming sector that consists of all vehicles whose primary purpose is transporting people and/or goods from one physical location to another. Included are automobiles; trucks; buses; motorcycles; trains, subways, and other rail vehicles; aircraft; and ships, barges, and other waterborne vehicles. Vehicles whose primary purpose is not transportation (e.g., construction cranes and bulldozers, farming vehicles, and warehouse tractors and forklifts) are classified in the sector of their primary use. Note: Various EIA programs differ in sectoral coverage.

Underground mine:  A mine where coal is produced by tunneling into the earth to the coalbed, which is then mined with underground mining equipment such as cutting machines and continuous, longwall, and shortwall mining machines. Underground mines are classified according to the type of opening used to reach the coal, i.e., drift (level tunnel), slope (inclined tunnel), or shaft (vertical tunnel).

Underground mining equipment:  

  • A coal-cutting machine is used in conventional mining to undercut, top cut, or shear the coal face so that coal can be fractured easily when blasted. It cuts 9 to 13 feet into the bed.
  • Continuous auger machine is used in mining coalbeds less than 3 feet thick. The auger has a cutting depth of about 5 feet and is 20 to 28 inches in diameter. Continuous auger mining usually uses a conveyor belt to haul the coal to the surface.
  • Continuous mining machine, used during continuous mining, cuts or rips coal from the face and loads it into shuttle cars or conveyors in one operation. It eliminates the use of blasting devices and performs many functions of other equipment such as drills, cutting machines, and loaders. A continuous mining machine typically has a turning "drum" with sharp bits that cut and dig out the coal for 16 to 22 feet before mining stops so that the mined area can be supported with roof bolts. This machine can mine coal at the rate of 8 to 15 tons per minute.
  • There are of two types of conveyor systems:
    1. A mainline conveyor, which is usually a permanent installation that carries coal to the surface.
    2. A section conveyor, which connects the working face to the mainline conveyor.
  • Face drill is used in conventional mining to drill shot holes in the coalbed for explosive charges.
  • Loading machine is used in conventional mining to scoop broken coal from the working area and load it into a shuttle car, which hauls the coal to mine cars or conveyors for delivery to the surface.
  • Longwall mining machine shears coal from a long straight coal face (up to about 700 feet) by working back and forth across the face under a movable, hydraulic-jack roof-support system. The broken coal is transported by conveyor. Longwall machines can mine coal at the rate of 1,000 tons per shift. Mine locomotive, operating on tracks, is used to haul mine cars containing coal and other material, and to move personnel in specially designed "mantrip" cars. Large locomotives can haul more than 20 tons at a speed of about 10 miles per hour. Most mine locomotives run on electricity provided by a trolley wire; some are battery-powered.
  • Ram car or shuttle ram is a rubber-tired haulage vehicle that is unloaded through the use of a movable steel plate located at the back of the haulage bed.
  • Roof-bolting machine, or roof bolter, is used to drill holes and place bolts to support the mine roof. Roof bolting units can be installed on a continuous mining machine.
  • Scoop is a rubber-tired haulage vehicle used in thin coalbeds.
  • Shortwall mining machine generally is a continuous-mining machine used with a powered, self-advancing roof support system. It shears coal from a short coal face (up to about 150 feet long). The broken coal is hauled by shuttle cars to a conveyor belt.
  • Shuttle car is a rubber-tired haulage vehicle that is unloaded by a built-in conveyor.

Undiscovered resources (coal):  Unspecified bodies of coal surmised to exist on the basis of broad geologic knowledge and theory. Undiscovered resources include beds of bituminous coal and anthracite 14 inches or more thick and beds of sub bituminous coal and lignite 30 inches or more thick that are presumed to occur in unmapped and unexplored areas to depths of 6,000 feet. The speculative and hypothetical resource categories comprise undiscovered resources.

Virgin coal:  Coal that has not been accessed by mining.

Volatile matter:  Those products, exclusive of moisture, given off by a material as gas or vapor. Volatile matter is determined by heating the coal to 950 degrees Centigrade under carefully controlled conditions and measuring the weight loss, excluding weight of moisture driven off at 105 degrees Centigrade.