By Tyler Godwin
However, production in the fourth quarter rose to 21.04 million st, up 7.1% from 19.64 million st produced in Q3, but down 17.5% from 25.51 million st produced in the year-ago quarter. The latest quarter was also down 21.9% from the five-year Q4 average.
In the latest quarter, 97.4% of the production, or 20.49 million st, was bituminous coal, while the remaining 545,620 st was anthracite. In the previous quarter, bituminous coal made up 96.9%, and anthracite production was 608,665 st, while in the year-ago quarter, bituminous output was at 97%, and the remaining 769,969 st was anthracite.
Underground mine production was at 19.59 million st in Q4, up from 18.2 million st in Q3, but down from 23.31 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Consol Energy's Bailey underground mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania, was the largest mine in the region with a Q4 production total of 3.05 million st, up from 1.81 million st in Q3, but lower than 3.26 million st in the year-ago quarter. The mine produced a 21-year low 8.67 million st in 2020, down from 12.22 million st in 2019 and the lowest since 8.52 million st in 1999.
After the Bailey mine was American Consolidated Natural Resources' (formerly Murray Energy) Marshall County underground mine in West Virginia, which produced 2.15 million st in Q4, down from 2.64 million st in Q3 and 2.83 million st in Q4 2019. The Marshall County mine produced a 16-year low 8.85 million st in 2020, down from 11.72 million st a year earlier and the lowest since 8.36 million st was produced in 2004.
Rounding out the top three was Alliance Resource Partners' Tunnel Ridge mine, which produced 1.91 million st in Q4, up from 1.36 million st in Q3 and 1.8 million st in Q4 2019. However, Tunnel Ridge produced a four-year low 6.76 million st in 2020, down from 7.33 million st in 2019.
Of the top 14 producing mines, 10 saw quarterly increases in Q4, with Bailey and Tunnel Ridge seeing the largest increases, while the Marshall County mine saw the steepest decline.
Including the Tunnel Ridge mine, just four mines saw both a quarterly increase and a year-on-year increase. ACNR's Ohio County mine, Arch Resources' Leer mine and Rosebud Mining's Crooked Creek mine were the other three mines with increases.
ACNR Remains Largest NAPP Coal Producer
Six companies -- ACNR, Consol, Alliance, Contura Energy, Arch and Rosebud Mining -- each produced over 1 million st of coal in Q4 and combined to produce 19.15 million st, up from 17.64 million st in Q3, but down from 22.6 million st in the year-ago quarter.
ACNR, the largest underground miner in the US, produced 7.1 million st in Q4, down from 7.29 million st in Q3 and 9.54 million st in the year-ago quarter. The company's six mines each ranked in the top 15 NAPP mines in Q4.
Consol produced 5.88 million st of NAPP coal in Q4, up from 4.54 million st in Q3, but down from 6.72 million st in the year-ago quarter.
ACNR produced 26.59 million st in 2020, down from 40.3 million st in 2019, while Consol produced 18.77 million st, down from 27.29 million st a year earlier.
Surface production in Northern Appalachia was at 1.45 million st in Q4, up from 1.43 million st in Q3, but down from 2.2 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Robindale Energy was the largest surface mine producer in the region with output of 179,050 st in Q4, up from 159,655 st in Q3, but down from 243,017 st a year ago.