An aerial view of the Black Thunder coal mine, one of the largest coal mines in the world, June 13, 2014. Much of the coal is federally owned and environmentalists question the US governments decision to sell the coal at a time of concern for climate change.
The U.S. Government's Official Website for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). OSMRE's business practices are to reclaim abandoned mine lands (Title IV), regulate active coal mines (Title V), and apply sound science through technology transfer.
Formed deep underground over thousands of years of heat and pressure, coal is a carbon-rich black rock that releases energy when burned. In the United States, roughly 30 percent of all electricity comes from coal: the rest comes from natural gas, nuclear, and renewables like wind and solar.
Appalachian mines produce primarily bituminous coal from both surface and underground mines.Appalachian coal tends to be high in energy content and low in sulphur.; Illinois Basin mines also produce primarily bituminous coal but are generally underground operations, yielding coal that is high in energy content but also high in sulfur.
Coal mining is the process of extracting coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and, since the 1880s, has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production.