By Peter Höök
August 11, 2017 - The revival of the US coal mining sector is a strong focus of the Trump administration, but critics are questioning whether that is possible in current market conditions. With demand in decline, and the price of renewably generated power becoming increasingly cheap, has American coal simply had its day?
2016 was the worst year for coal production in the US since 1978. The availability of cheap, bountiful natural gas in particular has bitten into coal demand. In 2010, almost half of America’s energy came from coal, but by 2014 this was down to just 30%.
The number of people employed has dropped significantly, as last year alone 7,500 coal mining jobs were lost, following on from the 50,000 between 2008 and 2012. This drop in job availability is partly due to the implementation of more advanced technologies and the increased use of automation for certain mining techniques.