Northern Appalachia Sees Highest Quarterly Coal Production Since 2014
By Tyler Godwin
August 8, 2019 - Northern Appalachia coal production in the second quarter climbed to its highest level since 2014, as four of the top five producing mines saw a quarterly increase, according to data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The region produced roughly 29.05 million st of coal in Q2, up from 26.96 million st in the previous quarter and 27.16 million in the year-ago quarter. It was the highest quarterly output for Northern Appalachia since Q4 2014 when 29.46 million st was produced.
Of the 29.05 million st produced, 97.7%, or 28.39 million st, was bituminous coal, while the remaining 665,983 st was anthracite coal. In the previous quarter, 98.1%, or 26.45 million st was bituminous coal, and 513,868 st was anthracite, while the year-ago quarterly bituminous output was 26.69 million st, or 98.3%, and the remaining 472,579 st was anthracite.
Underground mine production was at 26.79 million st, up from 24.94 million st in Q1 and 25 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Murray Energy's Marshall County Mine produced a record-high 3.4 million st of coal in Q2, up from 2.65 million st in Q1 and 2.99 million st in the year-ago quarter. The underground mine, located in Marshall County, West Virginia, produced the most coal in Northern Appalachia for the first time since Q3 2018 and only the seventh time in the last seven years.
Consol Energy's Bailey mine had the second-largest output at 3.23 million st in Q2, up from 2.95 million st in Q1 but down from 3.45 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Rounding out the top three was Consol's Enlow Fork mine, which produced 2.46 million st in Q2, down from 2.83 million st in the previous quarter and 2.79 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Murray Remains Largest NAPP Coal Producer
Six companies -- Murray Energy, Consol Energy, Alliance Resources, Contura Energy, Rosebud Mining and Arch Coal -- each produced over 1 million st of coal in Q2 and in total, 25.76 million st in Q2, up from 23.97 million st in Q1 and 24.13 million st in the year-ago quarter. Murray and Consol are the only two companies that have produced at least 1 million st per quarter since 2012.
Murray produced 11.31 million st in the latest quarter, up from 10.66 million st in Q1 and 10.04 million st in the year-ago quarter. It was the most since 11.83 million st produced in Q4 2017.
The St. Clairsville, Ohio-based company has been the largest coal producer in Northern Appalachia every quarter for over 25 years and had six of the top 11 producing mines in Q2, including two of the top four.
Consol produced 7.22 million st of coal in Q2, up from 6.85 million st in Q1, but down from 7.68 million st in the year-ago quarter. Consol's three mines all ranked in the top eight for production in Q2.
By state, West Virginia led the NAPP region with 13.96 million st of coal produced from 15 mines in Q2, followed by 12.35 million st produced by 120 Pennsylvania mines, which was the highest quarterly Pennsylvania output since 12.56 million st in Q4 2014. A total of 12 Ohio mines produced 2.38 million st of coal, while 10 Maryland mines produced 371,614 st.
Surface production was at 2.26 million st in Q2, up from 2.02 million st in Q1 and 2.17 million st in the year-ago quarter.
CCU Coal and Construction, which purchased some of Westmoreland Coal's assets earlier this year, was the largest surface mine producer in the region, producing 271,888 st, up from 256,704 st in Q1. The Westmoreland assets produced 458,974 st in the year-ago quarter.