SIC 1221

This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in producing bituminous coal or lignite at surface mines or in developing bituminous coal or lignite surface mines. This industry includes auger mining, strip mining, culm bank mining, and other surface mining, by owners or lessees or by establishments that have complete responsibility for operating bituminous coal and lignite surface mines for others on a contract or fee basis. Bituminous coal and lignite preparation plants performing such activities as cleaning, crushing, screening, or sizing are included if operated in conjunction with a mine site, or if operated independently of any type of mine.

NAICS Code(s)

212111 (Bituminous Coal and Lignite Surface Mining)

Industry Snapshot

In 2002 U.S. coal production totaled 1.09 billion short tons, down 3 percent from a record high of 1.12 billion short tons in 2000. A warmer than normal winter during 2002 held down demand, but a hot summer generated increased demand for electricity and thus for coal. In 2002 coal was used to generate 51 percent of U.S. electric power.

In 2001 there were 759 surface coal mines in the United States, which produced 745.3 million short tons of coal. Surface mines accounted for 62 percent of all the nation's coal mines and 66 percent of all coal produced. Wyoming, the country's dominant surface mining state, has 17 surface mines that produced 368.7 million short tons of coal in 2001. This represented 49 percent of all surface-mined coal and 33 percent of all coal mined in the United States. The 11 mines within Campbell County in Wyoming accounted for 329.4 million short tons of the state's coal production.

Surface mining faces many of the same issues as underground coal mining, including regulatory restrictions, environmental concerns, and declining prices. Surface mines must also address reclamation issues of abandoned and depleted mines.

Organization and Structure

According to the Energy Information Administration, some 1,750 mines operated in 25 states in 1998. Surface mining was the exclusive mining technique used in 9 of those states. Mines range in size from small facilities that generate several thousand tons of coal per year to mammoth surface operations that extract 10 to 20 million tons per year. The surface and underground mining industry produced more than 1.1 billion tons of coal in 1998.

The Mining Process. Surface mining usually is practiced on relatively flat ground; the coal is recovered from a depth of less than 200 feet. At mines where the coal is located on steep inclines, though, material may be excavated from open pits that can reach depths of several hundred feet.

To reach coal deposits, miners must first remove the overburden, or strata, that covers the coal bed. Between 1 and 30 cubic yards of strata must be excavated for each ton of coal recovered. Dragline excavators, power shovels, bulldozers, front-end loaders, scrapers, and other heavy pieces of equipment are used to move the strata and extract the coal.

The two common methods of surface mining are strip and auger. At strip mines, large drills bore holes in the strata. Explosives are placed in these cavities and detonated. Power shovels or draglines operating at surface level then move the broken strata, while power shovels below dig up the coal and load it into trucks. The strata and coal are removed in long strips. This is done so that the debris from the newest strip can be dumped into an adjacent strip, from which the coal already has been recovered.

Auger mining consists of boring a series of holes that are 2 to 5 feet in diameter and 300 or more feet deep. This parallel and horizontal pattern is carved into a seam of coal that already has been exposed by an outcropping or by strip mining methods. No blasting takes place, and the overburden is left intact. The coal simply is removed and loaded into waiting trucks. Auger mining frequently is used in open-pit mines, where the strata is too thick to economically remove it using strip methods.

Because surface mining is less expensive and more productive than traditional underground mining, new surface extraction technology has allowed this method to dominate U.S. coal production. Moreover, producers are able to remove an estimated 90 percent of the coal at surface mines, while underground mines permit only a 50 to 80 percent extraction rate, depending on the mining method used.

After it is processed, different types of coal are often blended to produce uniform grades of commercial material. Blending also may occur at the point of use. Coal preparation plants can produce anywhere from 200 to 20,000 tons of coal per day. From the preparation plant, 70 percent of the coal is delivered to users by rail. Barges and ships deliver an additional 20 percent of industry output. Some coal also is stored for future use.

Coal Products. Four grades of coal mined in the coal industry include lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite. Each grade differs in moisture content, volatile matter, and fixed carbon content. Anthracite, the highest grade material, accounts for less than one-half of 1 percent of total output and is classified in its own industry (see SIC 1231: Anthracite Mining).

Bituminous coal, or soft coal, is the most common type of coal produced in the United States. It represents more than 70 percent of total industry output and accounts for approximately 50 percent of total U.S. reserves. The mineral is composed of 80 to 90 percent carbon and about 10 to 20 percent moisture. A ton of bituminous coal typically generates 19 to 30 million BTUs (British Thermal Units) and ignites at between 700 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Bituminous coal possesses a relatively low sulfur content, which causes it to burn more cleanly than some lower grades. Because of its properties, bituminous coal is the principal steam coal used for generating electricity. It also is the primary coking coal used in the steel-making process.

Bituminous coal can be further categorized as low-, medium-, and high-volatile coal, according to its moisture content and heating capacity. Low- and medium-volatility grade bituminous coal typically generates between 26 and 30 million BTUs per ton. High-volatile coal, in contrast, usually produces anywhere from 18 to 29 million BTUs per ton. For comparison, a ton of bituminous coal, assuming an average 22 million BTUs, produces about the same amount of energy as one cord of hardwood, 22,000 cubic feet of natural gas, or 160 gallons of fuel oil.

Subbituminous coal has a 75 to 85 percent carbon content. It produces 16 to 24 million BTUs per ton and is used primarily to generate electricity. In 1995 subbituminous coal represented 31.7 percent of industry output. Although its sulfur content is low relative to lignite, a high moisture content, along with other negative properties, makes it less desirable than higher coal grades for most applications.

Lignite, the lowest ranked coal, is a brownish-black mineral containing a moisture content of 30 to 40 percent. It produces about 9 to 17 million BTUs per ton and ignites at roughly 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it deteriorates rapidly in air, has a high sulfur content, and is liable to combust spontaneously, lignite mainly is used to generate electricity in power plants that are close to mines. In 1995 lignite accounted for 8.3 percent of industry production. Lignite also is subject to high royalties charged by the federal government.

Coal Consumers. In 1998, 83 percent of the coal produced in the United States, 912.1 million short tons, was consumed by utilities. Percentage-wise, this was down from 88 percent in 1995. Coal-fired facilities produced approximately 55 percent of the total electricity generated domestically.

The second largest coal customer was the general industry sector, which accounted for 76.5 short tons of coal in 1998. Industry uses for coal include production of materials such as calcium carbide, silicon carbide, refractory bricks, carbon and graphite electrodes, and various food and paper products. Coal also is used to produce gall and stone, primary metals, textiles, and plastics. One of the largest industrial uses of coal is cement production. In fact, 90 percent of U.S. cement plants use coal—at a rate of about 1 ton for each 3.5 tons of cement produced.

Iron and steel manufacturers are the third largest coal consumers. These industries use coal to produce coke—a primary ingredient in the smelting of iron. In 1995 approximately 27.6 million short tons of coal was used in the processing of iron and steel.

Background and Development

Coal is not a true mineral, but rather an organic compound formed from the remains of living organic material that flourished 250 to 400 million years ago. The Chinese are believed to be the first to have used coal, in about 1000 B.C. The Romans also are believed to have burned the material. The first written history of coal dates back to 1200 A.D., when metalworkers in Europe were observed using it.

Widespread use of coal did not occur in Europe until the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Advances that significantly promoted the use of coal during the eighteenth century included Abraham Darby's methods of using coal instead of charcoal in blast furnaces and forges, as well as the coal-burning steam engine developed by James Watt.

Although coal mining was taking place in North America as early as 1701 in Virginia, it was not until 1745 that coal was mined in the colonies on a commercial scale. During the American Revolution, when European sources of coal became inaccessible, the fledgling industry's importance increased. By the early 1830s, many small coal mining operations had sprung up along rivers in Appalachian regions. In the 1840s the industry mined its first 1 million tons.

The advent of the steam locomotive in the middle and late 1800s prompted a huge expansion of the coal industry, as producers took advantage of that important new channel of distribution. This development, in conjunction with the start of the Industrial Revolution, resulted in huge industry growth. Between 1865 and 1905, for instance, production ballooned from 182 million tons to 928 million tons. Although the United Kingdom led world coal production throughout the nineteenth century, the United States surpassed that country as the leading producer in 1900. In that year, U.S. companies mined 250 million tons of coal. By 1935 world output stood at 1.18 billion tons.

Growth in the use of coal, mostly to generate energy and to create iron and steel, continued at a moderate pace until the middle 1900s in most industrialized countries. By 1958 annual demand for coal in the United States stood at about 400 million tons. However, massive growth in demand in previously undeveloped regions, such as the former U.S.S.R. and China, had pushed global consumption past 2.5 billion tons by the 1950s.

In the 1950s and 1960s demand for coal realized solid growth in the United States, despite the increasing popularity of alternative energy sources, such as petroleum and hydropower. During those decades, a booming postwar economy spurred demand for coal by utilities and iron and steel makers, as well as other commercial industrial sectors.

Growth of Strip and Auger Mining. Coal was first taken directly from exposed ledges and outcroppings. When this meager supply was consumed, however, miners began to scratch beneath the earth's crust using surface, or open-cut, mining equipment. After easily accessible surface coal had been extracted, and the strata became too thick to remove, companies were forced to mine for coal using costly underground operations. Underground mines, though, could not safely access coal that was close to the earth's surface because the risk of the mine collapsing was too great. For this reason, much of the coal that lay just beneath the earth's surface, but also under thick strata, remained inaccessible.

In the 1960s and 1970s, improved earth-moving equipment catapulted the surface, or strip mining, industry to center stage. New tools allowed miners to remove overburden more than 200 feet thick. Massive power shovels, many taller than a 12-story building, were developed that could remove up to 115 cubic yards of debris in a single bite. New earth hauling trucks had equivalent capacities. Similar advancements propelled auger-mining technology, which originated in the 1940s. Indeed, massive drills, conveyors, and haulers made auger mining, like strip mining, preferable to many forms of under-ground mining.

Coal companies were finding that, in most cases, they could extract coal using new surface mining techniques more cheaply and efficiently than they could using even the latest underground mining technology. Surface mining accounted for only 35 percent of total U.S. coal production in 1965. By the late 1970s, however, auger and strip mining operations accounted for a full 60 percent of industry output. Because surface mining is not always applicable in mountainous regions, such as Appalachia, coal extracted from underground mines accounted for 38 percent by 1995.

Labor Influence. The early mining industry in the United States and Europe was characterized by a history of worker exploitation as well as dismal and dangerous working conditions. For these reasons, the impetus to form and maintain strong labor unions has played an integral role in the development of the industry.

The first U.S. coal labor union appeared in Illinois in the 1890s. By 1900 unions were present in five other states. Eventually, the United Mine Workers of America (UMW), a national organization, became the dominant labor influence in the industry; by 1940 the UMW represented more than 800,000 mine workers. Federal and state governments also became active in the protection of mine workers in the first half of the century. Following a succession of mine explosions in 1907 that killed thousands of miners, the Bureau of Mines (BOM) was created. Several states also began requiring mine safety inspections.

The industry death toll continued to rise, however, prompting the federal government to establish mine safety standards in 1941, although these regulations were not enforced until 1946. In 1969 Congress passed the important Coal Mine Health & Safety Act (CMHSA). Adding to federal and state efforts were international organizations, such as the Coal Mining Industrial Committee, which was formed in 1945 to improve mine workers' conditions on a global scale. Between 1968 and 1991, mine fatalities decreased from .27 fatalities per 200,000 man-hours to .05—a reduction of 81 percent. Injures declined as well, by about 29 percent.

By the 1960s labor organizations had become so strong in the mining industry that about 75 percent of all coal was produced by UMW members. Furthermore, several other unions appeared, including the Progressive Mine Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the International Union of Operating Engineers. These combined labor forces vastly improved wages and working conditions for miners in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Critics, however, argued that labor unions had become too strong and were sapping coal industry productivity and health.

The 1970s and 1980s. Many coal producers fell on hard times during the 1970s—a result of several factors. A principal reason for the industry's decline was a marked decrease in productivity and an increase in salaries and benefits. Federal safety regulations, for instance, were blamed for slashing productivity by almost 50 percent between 1969 and 1978—from 1.95 miner hours per ton to 1.04. The Coal Mine Health & Safety Act (CMHSA) regulations forced companies to hire more personnel and alter existing labor practices that were deemed unsafe or unfair.

Of critical importance to the coal mining industry in the 1970s, as well as in the 1980s and 1990s, were federal environmental regulations that cut into the profits of industry players. A series of state and federal bills dealing with land reclamation, for instance, were blamed for decreased productivity at surface mines—down to 3.03 tons produced per man hour in 1977 from 4.74 tons in 1974. The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977 also set up a provision for cleaning up old mining sites. That provision, which among other things instituted a tax of 35 cents per ton on all surface-mined bituminous coal, generated $256 million in 1996.

Another factor that hurt producers in both the 1970s and 1980s was a decrease in the growth of coal demand. Hydro, nuclear, natural gas, and oil sources continued to reduce coal's total contribution to domestic energy consumption. Although coal production grew at a rate of 5.7 percent in the 1970s and 3.8 percent in the 1980s, this was down from a 7.3 percent annual growth rate in the 1950s and 6.6 percent average annual growth during the 1960s.

During the 1980s, however, many coal producers succeeded in overcoming the profit barriers that arose during the 1970s. Although total growth in demand for coal declined in the 1980s, the industry was able to increase its contribution to total U.S. energy consumption from a low of 17.6 percent in 1973 to more than 25 percent in the late 1980s. Even a significant reduction in the use of coal by iron and steel producers was not enough to offset increased consumption by utilities, which were seeking less expensive alternatives to oil.

Coal companies also enjoyed growing success in increasing productivity and extracting labor concessions in the 1980s. Technological advancements in automation and mining techniques allowed producers to realize massive productivity gains between 1980 and 1990. Productivity at surface mines shot up from about 3 tons per man hour in the late 1970s to more than 6 tons per hour by 1990, and continued to rise. As a result, total industry employment declined from about 240,000 workers in 1978, when 665 million tons of coal was shipped, to 81,000 workers in 1995, when 1.12 billion tons of coal were produced.

As industry employment diminished and new surface mining plants opened in western states, labor's influence on the industry declined. Indeed, the portion of coal produced at UMW mines had declined to about 30 percent of the total by 1990, while the percentage of U.S. coal mined by members of all labor unions had fallen to only 55 percent. By 1995 about 27 percent of miners at surface mines belonged to the UMWA, and another 11 percent belonged to other unions.

Industry participants also insisted that they had made strides in meeting environmental challenges, pointing to new mining, processing, and coal burning technologies. Environmental groups, however, remained opposed to many aspects of the coal mining industry.

Despite successes in the 1980s, industry profit growth was held in check by relatively stagnant demand growth and declining prices. Production outpaced demand, forcing prices down. Between 1992 and 1995, for instance, the price of coal dropped from $21.03 per ton to $17.52 per ton, using constant 1992 dollars.

Overall coal production realized very modest gains from 1991 to 1998, averaging less than 1 percent annual growth. There was a slight decrease from 1994 to 1995, but figures for 1996 indicated growth of more than 2 percent. Surface mining, however, grew steadily. While coal production east of the Mississippi, where most underground mines were located, fell 3.9 percent from 1994 to 1995 to 544 million short tons, coal production in the western states, where surface mines predominate, increased by 4.6 percent to a record 489 million short tons. In 1998 surface production stood at 686.6 million short tons. Prices continued to decline, though, at the same time that production costs were rising.

Mines continued to close, and employment continued to decline across the whole coal mining industry, with a net loss in 1995 of 250 mines and about 7,000 miners. Employment at surface mines declined by 9.9 percent from 1994 to 1995, to about 32,000 miners. However, productivity continued to increase. Miner productivity east of the Mississippi grew to 3.45 short tons per miner per hour, while in the West productivity rose 7 percent to 14.18 short tons.

Phase one of the Clean Air Amendment Act of 1990, which set a goal of cutting sulfur dioxide emissions nationwide by 10 million tons by the year 2000, went into effect on January 1, 1995. The law required electrical generating plants to lower smokestack emissions of sulfur compounds, but gave utilities wide latitude in how this might be accomplished. Plants that exceeded requirements received allowances that could be sold or exchanged on the open market. Because of this market-based approach, the legislation had not, by the time phase one went into effect, had the calamitous effect that some analysts had feared. Most utilities had not found it necessary to install expensive scrubbers, but had found switching to low-sulfur coals and purchasing allowances adequate to meet the law's requirements. Midwestern mines that produced coal with a higher sulfur content felt the impact of the legislation most severely, while western low-sulfur coal producers experienced some relative benefit. The threat of increased environmental controls related to carbon dioxide emissions and land reclamation was, however, a source of concern for many producers.

Electric utilities continued to consume the vast majority of surface-mined coal and lignite. In 1998 electric utilities used 912 million short tons. A study by Resource Data International Inc., reported in July 1996, projected continued domination of electricity generation by coal through the year 2015. Annual increases of 1.3 to 2.1 percent were forecast.

Another segment in the energy market that held promise for coal producers was nonutility power producers. Since passage of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978, several new types of nonregulated power facilities had developed. These entities usually sold their output to public utilities. Nonregulated facilities included nonutility generators, independent power producers, and cogenerators.

The domestic demand for coking coal was expected to continue its decline. Accounting for 25 percent of industry output in 1950, the demand for coking coal to produce iron and steel in the United States commanded only 3.4 percent of production in 1991. In 1993 consumption of coking coal hit a low of 31 million short tons, but had risen to 33 million tons in 1995. By 1998 that figure had declined to 27.6 million.

Current Conditions

Coal prices rebounded slightly during 2002, after numerous years of decline. The average price of delivered coal was $24.68 per short ton, a 2 percent increase from 2001. Coking coal prices averaged $46.42 per short ton, a 5 percent increase, and industrial steam coal prices averaged $32.26 per short ton, a 3 percent increase. Coal prices are determined by a number of factors that are beyond the industry's control, including weather patterns and enactment of environmental regulations concerning smokestack emissions and mine cleanup and restoration.

Surface mining evokes particular reactions from environmentalists due to the large land areas that are altered by surface mining operations. Previously abandoned surface mines that were not properly restored led to the industry's negative image. The Department of the Interior'sOffice of Surface Mining oversees land recovery of mines that were abandoned or depleted prior to 1977. According to the Office of Surface Mining, during 2002 over 5.8 million acres were under permit for land mining, including nearly 116,000 new acres awarded permits during the year. Within the year about 73,500 acres completed Phase Three of reclamation and were released from the reclamation program. Out of 32 surface mining states and tribal reservations, 23 states and reservations reported 862,500 acres of disturbed lands that were in need of reclamation.

Despite a sluggish economy, coal mining remains stable for the foreseeable future. Energy usage is expected to increase, and coal prices and production should benefit from growing demand. Although natural gas continues to increase its market share, coal is a long-time stable of the American energy landscape and is expected to remain an inexpensive, readily available energy source for the United States. However, long-term questions regarding ecological sustainability and environmental pollutants released by burning coal will continue to shadow the industry.

Industry Leaders

The coal industry has undergone a period of consolidation that began in the mid-1970s. Since that time, the number of coal producers declined from 2,300 to about 1,500 by 1993. The number of mines those companies operated fell during the same period from 6,200 to 3,200. In the 1970s a number of energy companies such as Exxon, Shell, and Sun Oil had acquired coal properties in an attempt to diversify, but soft prices for both coal and oil encouraged many of these companies to sell off some or all of these acquisitions. Large coal operators such as Peabody Holding, Zeigler Coal, and Cyprus AMAX Minerals purchased many of these existing mines.

The largest U.S. producer of coal in 2002 was Peabody Energy Corp., which had 33 U.S. mines and produced over 190 million short tons. Peabody had sales in fiscal 2002 of $2.71 billion, resulting in a net income of $105.6 million. The second largest producer of coal in the United States was Arch Coal, Inc., which produces more than 115 million tons of coal per year. The company had 2002 sales of $1.5 billion, resulting in a net loss of $2.6 million. The third biggest producer was CONSOL Energy, Inc., with net income of $10.6 million in 2002 on sales of $2.1 billion. Horizon Natural Resources (formerly AEI Resources) is another major coal mining operation in the United States. Although Horizon posted revenues in excess of $1.4 billion in 2001, the company's heavy debt load—a result of numerous acquisitions in the 1990s—required the company to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice during 2002, leaving its future uncertain.

The eight largest mines in the nation were all surface mines located in Wyoming. The North Antelope Rochelle Comple, owned by the Powder River Coal Company, was the largest, producing 77.8 million short tons in 2001. Black Thunder, owned by Thunder Basin Coal Company, was second with 67.6 million short tons. Other top-producing mines included Cordero Mine, owned by Cordero Mining Co. (43.4 million short tons); Jacobs Ranch Mine, owned by Jacobs Ranch Coal Company (29.3 million short tons); Caballo Mine, owned by Caballo Coal Company (27.1 million short tons); and Eagle Butte Mine, owned by Rag Coal West, Inc. (24.8 million short tons).


The number of workers employed by U.S. coal producers continued declining in 2001 to about 78,600. Although surface mining operations are less susceptible to labor cutbacks than underground mining facilities, surface mines are considerably less labor intensive and provide fewer job opportunities per ton of coal produced than do underground mines. Labor positions in the surface mining industry are concentrated in the maintenance and operation of heavy machinery. In addition, surface mining companies have a higher proportion of management and clerical workers than the overall coal industry.

Employment opportunities in the surface mining industry have been limited. Labor unions have pushed hard to get companies that have opened new surface mining operations to employ workers who were displaced from underground mining jobs. This factor, in addition to constantly rising automation and productivity, make coal industry employment highly competitive. Even new positions in management remained limited in the early 1990s—a result of generally tepid industry growth.

America and the World

Of the estimated 490 billion tons of coal reserves in the United States, only about 150 billion tons are accessible through surface mining. Nevertheless, this reserve ensures a dominant U.S. position in the future global coal mining industry. In addition to healthy reserves, U.S. coal companies have achieved the highest productivity of any coal-producing nation. While the United States places second to Australia as the largest coal exporter, America remained the largest total coal producer until the early 1990s, when China assumed the lead.

The amount of coal exported from the United States has increased. In 1998 exports stood at 76.2 million tons. The primary reason for the increase was the substantial growth in the demand for U.S. steam coal. Exports to Europe more than doubled between 1994 and 1995. At the same time, the United States imported less than 1 percent of its coal needs. Canada overtook Japan as the single largest consumer of U.S. coal in 1998, absorbing 19.2 million tons to Japan's 7.7 tons. Other countries importing U.S. coal include Brazil (6.5 million tons in 1998), the United Kingdom (5.9 million tons), and Italy (5.3 million tons).

Despite its strong export position, the 1998 figure represents only 7 percent of total U.S. production for the year. The price per exported ton fell from $44.36 in 1996 to $34.30 in 1998. In fact, U.S. share of the world coal market has fallen dramatically since the 1950s. From 1960 to 1990 the country's global market share fell from 50 percent to approximately 25 percent. This decline was a result of increased production by several other countries, many of which are not subject to environmental regulations and labor controls that constrain U.S. producers. South Africa and Australia, particularly, have proven themselves effective competitors for global market share. Other countries with a small but growing output of coal include Indonesia, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Producers also have kept a close eye on China, which produced 1.2 billion tons in 1998—and which boasts massive coal reserves in excess of 800 billion tons. China's export potential clearly is formidable. The country has continued to strive to upgrade its production and distribution infrastructure with the help of Japanese investment capital and has embarked on an ambitious nuclear energy program. China hoped that increased domestic use of nuclear energy would allow it to divert more of its coal production to the export market. Other countries that were striving to garner global coal market share in the early 1990s included Columbia, Venezuela, and Indonesia. These three, along with Canada, make up the major exporters to the United States.

Research and Technology

To maintain economic viability and their position in the global export market, U.S. surface mining firms have continued to rely on technological advances to overcome imposing barriers that face them. Of great importance were projects to improve the cleanliness and efficiency of coal-fired electric power plants. The U.S. Department of Energy was developing five categories of research. Low-emission boiler systems incorporated advanced combustion and innovative flue gas cleaning systems in the initial design for new power plants. Pressurized fluidized bed combustion captured sulfur pollutants inside the boiler instead of in the stack and allowed combustion at temperatures below the point at which most nitrogen pollutants form. The integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) employed coal gasification rather than traditional combustion and combined a steam turbine driven by exhaust heat with the gas turbine driven by the coal gas. Indirectly fired cycles employed a design that heated a working fluid, such as air, to turn the turbine rather than the hot gases of combustion. Finally, integrated gasification-fuel cell combinations would link a coal gasifier with a fuel cell. By 1995 pressurized fluidized bed combustion systems and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) systems were in commercial use. The primary goals of the industry at present are to produce coal more efficiently and more safely, as well as to encourage scientists to find cleaner ways in which it can be used.

Further Reading

Fiscor, Steve. "Forecast Returns to Normal for 2003." Coal Age, 1 January 2003.

——. "Most of the Demand Variables for 2003 Lie Beyond the Coal Industry's Control." Coal Age, 1 January 2003.

Freme, Fred. U.S. Coal Supply and Demand: 2002 Review. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. Available from .

Hofman, Mike. "Spotlight: Coal Comes in from the Cold." Inc., February 2003.

Ihle, Jack. "Coal Forecasting: Modeling the 'Commodity."' Coal Age, 1 February 2003.

Lask, Ellen. "In Vogue, for Now." Petroleum Economist, January 2002, 31-34.

National Mining Association. "Salient Statistics of the Mining Industry." Available from .

"Stakes are Heating Up." Mechanical Engineering-CIME, August 2002, 4.

Talley, Roy M. "Don't Count Coal Out." Dallas Business Journal, 6 July 2002, 43.

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. Annual Coal Report 2001: Executive Summary. Available from .

——. Annual Energy Outlook 2003 with Projections to 2025. Available from .

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2001 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. Available from .

U.S. Department of the Interior, The Office of Surface Mining, 2003. Available from .

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