Wyoming Coal Industry Gets Good News

Wyoming Coal Industry Gets Good News

August 9, 2021

For the first time in nearly six years, coal workers in Wyoming are receiving good news. Coal is on the rise. Powder River Basin (PRB) coal producers are reporting a 6% increase in production during the first half of 2021. Six percent may not seem like a lot but for the thousands of people who work the PRB mines news could not come at a better time.

The Casper Star Tribune reports:

With natural gas prices also rising above $4 and the pandemic rebound, it was expected there would be more of a leveling off for a beleaguered thermal coal industry, said Robert Godby, a leading energy economist and interim dean of the University of Wyoming College of Business.

“This is exactly what we expected,” he told the Gilette News Record. “As the economy recovers, we knew this was coming. But even (to this level) has kind of surprised us. Originally, we thought it might be a one-year jump and then moderate, but now it’s looking like coal could maintain this pump through a good chunk of next year.”

Other experts agree, with the federal Energy Information Association projecting that by the end of the year, coal production will increase by 15% over 2020 levels. That also could result in some idled U.S. coal mines reopening.

The thought of coal mines reopening across the country should bring hope throughout the industry. As the world continues to open up, it is clear we rely heavily on coal and the industry is not going anywhere anytime soon.