Exports will help offset further declines in western production
by steve fiscor, editor-in-chief
Ask American coal operators what they think and the responses will differ greatly depending on their location. A large surface mine operator in Wyoming would likely tell you they plan to mine and ship less coal in 2019. They will still ship a lot by eastern U.S. standards, but it will likely be less than last year. An underground operator in the East producing high-quality bituminous coal could probably mine and sell more coal, but they will likely tell you they are constrained by production capacity and logistics as far as getting more product to market.
As it does every year, Coal Age surveyed 500 professionals involved in different aspects of coal mining and processing for its 2019 Annual Forecast. The feeling one would get from the responses is that they are cautiously optimistic. Most of them believe production will increase or at least stay the same. They have money to invest in projects if they can show a return on investment. They are looking at more new equipment rather than upgrades.