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Coal Show Underway


September 16, 2022 - Despite the struggle for coal in recent years, exhibitors and coal producers at the 24th Annual Bluefield Coal and Mining Show were optimistic about the near future.

The three -day event at the Brush Fork Armory will wrap up on Friday. The show opened with a guest speaker, David Stetson of Alpha Met Resources who indicated the current coal boom might be sustainable for the next two to three years barring any unforeseen occurrences.

Organizers like Bob Ramsey, General Chairman of the show said the event is a good barometer for how the industry is doing since it’s held every two years.

“There’s several factors that drive steam coal and different factors that drive met coal. This current boom has seen that those factors have aligned to where prices for both steam and met coal are at extremely high levels,” he said.

According to Ramsey, there is optimism from those at the show.

“What Mr. Stetson described is that it appears to be sustainable for the next two to three years. There are some factors that could change that, but it does appear to be sustainable for the next two or three years,” he said.

The show comes the same week as plans were announced to bring a solar power plant to Ravenswood  to power a new factory producing titanium products exclusively with green energy.   Ramsey said those announced green energy jobs are great for the state, but believes it’s important to note the coal industry has to exist alongside those jobs for the foreseeable future.

“A lot of those green energy initiatives require the coal base load of power in the United States to run their plants, factories and their equipment. ” he said.

The show featured 165 exhibitors from 30 states and five foreign countries.

“There’s a lot of traditional equipment, underground mining equipment, underground transportation, coal preparation, a lot of safety equipment related to the coal industry. A lot of the new technology developments are in the safety area and there are a lot of safety vendors,” he said.

The show doesn’t normally involves a lot of direct sales right off the show floor, but Ramsey said it does give coal operators, executives, and engineers a change to stay up to date on the latest technology from the industry.

“It’s a good catch-up. Purchasing people, project managers and engineers will be there to study what developments there are an meet with those clients on display,” he said.