“Stringent EPA regulations, a cyclical move to cheaper natural gas, and an overriding anti-coal sentiment has resulted in lowered production, jobs, and hence, lower demand for coal preparation in the United States,” said Torres. “Increased export of U.S. coal has helped to offset the freefall for many of the major coal producers. Coal Prep successfully targeted international attendance this year to capitalize on that trend, and to address the increase in coal exports.”

An over-arching theme at Coal Prep emerged from the plenary sessions at the event. Major coal producers who spoke at a new co-located Kentucky Coal Association Symposium, as well as the keynote and general session speakers all addressed the need for the industry to do more to promote the benefits of coal to the consumer public. To make the point, Keynoter, Nick Carter, president and COO, Natural Resource Partners L.P., shared with the audience that during the three days of the Coal Prep event—60 million tons of coal would be used in the world. He then posed a question to attendees, but it was clearly intended for the rest of the world to consider: “Without energy, what can you produce?”

Coal Prep 2014 will be held in Lexington April 28 through May 1.