Virginia Coal: Complete Coal and Energy Data Reference
As of the 1999 edition, Virginia Coal will no longer be available in hard copy form.
All of the information currently available through Virginia Coal will be posted in an electronic format. This will allow the VCCER to frequently update the data, thereby making it more accessible.
For the most current tables and links for Virginia Coal, please visit Virginia Energy Patterns and Trends
August 1999 issue is downloadable in Adobe Acrobat format.
Coal production in Virginia fell, during 1998, to 34.0 million tons from 36.9 million tons in 1997. While the production trend during the period 1995 through 1997 was consistent with the predicted outcome of the Virginia Coalfield Employment Enhancement Tax Credit, the 1998 production figure corresponds to the level estimated in the absence of that tax credit. A notable impact on the level of production in Virginia is observed in the drastic decrease in production from one of the top producing mines. Production from the Island Creek Coal Company VP#3 mine fell from 2.2 million tons (1997) to less than one-quarter million tons in 1998. Island Creek Coal Company's VP#8 mine did show an increase in production by about 1.4 million tons over 1997. This, however, is insufficient to make up for the production loss from VP#3. Overall, Production from the Top 50 mines fell by 774,000 tons from 1997.
Production personnel labor hours, as reported to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (Division of Mines) fell by nearly 986,000 man-hours or 8.6 percent from 1997. Loss of Production wages, about 7.4 percent, was consistent with the decrease in labor hours. Overall productivity in Virginia coal mines shows an increase from 1997. This is, however, comprised of a productivity decrease in surface mining operations, which account for about 24 percent of total production. Productivity in underground mines shows an increase of about 4.3 percent over 1997.
In 1997 the production of coal in Virginia was reported, by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (Division of Mines), to be 36,889,166 tons. This is a slight increase over the production reported for 1996 (36,782,065 tons). Surface mine production lost the gains made in 1996, falling back to near the 1995 production level. Underground coal production increased to nearly 28 million tons. The total production trend is consistent with the expectations predicted by the VCCER with regards to the effect of the Employment Enhancement Tax Credit.3 While it may still be somewhat early to make a detailed assessment of the involvement of the Virginia coal mining industry in the Employment Enhancement Tax Credit program the records from the DMME indicate that nearly 30% of the mines reported tax credit production in seams less than or equal to 36 inches, and nearly 58% reported tax credit labor hours.
Reported labor hours of production personnel decreased in surface operations and increased slightly in underground operations. Overall, the trend was a recution in the total labor effort. Production wages paid, shows a slight increase of about 1%. However, when this number is adjusted for the Consumer Price Index, it too is expected to show a real decrease. The productivity per labor hour of Virginia coal mines continues to rise. The average productivity was 3.2 tons per man-hour. In surface operations the productivity approaches 4.0 tons per man-hour, while in underground operations the productivity is 3.0 tons per man-hour.
Coal production in Virgnia for 1996, as reported to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (Division of Mines) was 36,782,065 tons. This production figure is an increase of 2.4% over the production in 1995 (35,917,208 tons). Production at underground mines shows an increase of less than 1% over 1995, whereas surface mine production increased by 7.8%.
Employment in Virginia coal mines shows an overall decrease of 12.6% from 1995. This decrease is less than half of that from 1994 to 1995, however. Total production wages in 1996 fell 7.1% from 1995. This value is slightly less than the fall in wages paid between 1994 and 1995 (10%). An increase in the average productivity is seen, which is consistent with the rise in coal production with fewer employees, and the consequent decrease in wages paid.
In the five year period of 1992 to 1996, inclusive, the major indices related to coal production of Virgina have all shown a decrease, consistent with a loss of high-paying jobs associated with coal production. (Factors relating to dollar values are referenced to 1992 constant dollars.) Total wages paid in 1996 were about 31% lower than in 1992. The average hourly production wage in 1996 was approximately 4.6% lower than in 1992. The average Virginia price at the mine in 1995 was about 4.9% less than in 1992, as compared to an Appalachian region figure of 9.5% less and a national average of 17.6% less for the same time period. The number of miners employed in 1996 fell by about 32.4% from 1992 (a decline of 24.3% from 1992 to 1995). The Appalachian region experienced a fall of 18.2% between 1992 and 1995. The U.S. average decline was 18.1% for the same time period.
The 1996 production figure represents the first increase in annual production since 1990. This may be due in part to the Tax Credit initiative, and to higher prices being paid for coal at the mine, during 1995. The mine price increase from 1994 to 1995 was on the order of 6.1% (nominal dollars) and about 3.6% in constant (1992) dollars. Figures from the U.S. Department of Energy indicate that the 52-week production figures ending the last week of May sho a 2.1% increase in Virginia production (U.S. DOE, EIA, Weekly Coal Report). The number of mines actively participating in the Tax Credit program is unclear from the data available for analysis.
Total Virginia coal production for 1995, as reported to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (Division of Mines), was 35,917,208 tons, a 7.4 percent decline from the 1994 total of 38,805,245. This year's production figure was the lowest since 1983. Underground production dropped by 8.2 percent to 27,008,184 tons, the lowest since 1978, while surface production - at 8,909,024 tons - decreased by 4.9 percent. Meanwhile, deep-mined coal produced by longwall operations, which had held at just over 7 million tons during 1993 and 1994, slipped 18.9 percent to 5,935,586.
Mining employment dropped 27 percent in 1995, as the industry continued a decade-long trend of work force reductions in response to falling coal prices. Mine wages fell 10 percent, and labor hours for underground mines decreased by 18 percent. Overall labor productivity decreased by 13 percent in 1995 to 2.96 tons/labor hour, and there were 41 fewer producing mines in Virginia.
Coal production has now declined steadily since 1990, Virginia's peak production year. As reported in last year's edition of Virginia Coal, the substantial decrease in the tonnages supplied by Virginia producers to overseas export markets continues to be a major factor limiting the state's production, as does the expense of mining increasingly inaccessible Virgina coal. However, Virginia's Port of Hampton Roads saw an increase in the tonnages supplied to all markets, foreign and domestic, of nearly 8 million tons.
In conclusion, it should be noted that this year's edition of Virginia Coal includes complete data on 22 mines actually licensed during 1994, but which continued to mine coal through February 15, 1995. Production tonnage from those of these mines in production totaled 15,304 tons, 0.04 percent of the entire Virginia coal production figure.
Total Virginia coal production for 1994, as reported to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (Division of Mines), was 38,805,245 tons, a 3.2 percent decline from the 1993 total of 40,090,647. This year's production figure was the lowest since 1983. Underground production dropped by 3.6 percent to 29,434,576 tons, the lowest since 1979, while surface production - at 9,370,669 tons - decreased by 1.8 percent, reversing the rising trend of the past several years. Meanwhile, deep-mined coal produced by longwall operations rebounded from last year's two-million-ton decline with a modest reported growth of around one percent. Regarding the methods by which coal was actually mined in Virginia in 1994, aa 378 percent increase was seen in underground mining methods "other" than continuous and longwall mining. It should be noted that this figure includes production from any operation that did not explicitly stipulate mining method to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, and likely includes tonnages produced by conventional methods.
Mining employment dropped 9.1 percent in 1994, as the industry continued a decade-long trend of work force reductions in response to falling coal prices. Mine wages rose slightly, and labor hours for underground mines also increased. Overall labor productivity decreased by 4.7 percent in 1994 to 2.62 tons/labor hour, but surface productivity increased by 2.6 percent.
As reported in last year's edition of Virginia Coal, the declining coal production observable during 1994 continues a trend which has now been steady since 1990, Virginia's peak production year. A substantial decrease in the tonnages supplied by Virginia producers to overseas export markets continued to be a major factor limiting the state's production: overseas exports were down over 4.4 percent from the 1993 total. However, Virgina's Port of Hampton Roads saw an increase in the tonnages supplied to domestic markets of over 2 million tons.
Total Virginia coal production for 1993, as reported to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (Division of Mines), was 40,090,647 tons, a significant, 5.8 percent drop from the 1992 total of 42,561,779. This year's production figure was the lowest since 1983. Underground production dropped by 111.2 percent to 30,548,018 tons, the lowest since 1979, while surface production - at 9,542,630 tons - compensated with an increase of nearly 16.8 percent. Deep-mined coal produced by longwall operations decreased by 28 percent (over two million tons) relative to 1992 levels.
Mining employment figures showed an increase of 137 production workers (1.5 percent) in 1993, compared to 1992 levels. However, these figures also showed that the average employee worked 10.6 fewer hours during the past year. Thus, the industry continued a decade-long trend of workforce reductions in response to falling coal prices. Miner wages declined to their lowest levels, in current dollars, since 1976. In constant dollars, mine wages declined to their lowest level since 1968. Labor productivity increased by 3.1 percent in 1993 to 2.75 tons/labor hour, an all-time high.
The declining coal production observable in 1993, relative to 1992, continued a trend which has been ongoing since 1990, Virginia's peak production year. A substantial decrease in the tonnages supplied by Virginia producers to overseas export markets was the major factor which limited the state's 1993 production: overseas exports were down over 2.8 million tons from the 1992 total. However, Virginia producers were able to increase tonnages supplied to domestic markets by about 400,000 tons.
Total Virginia coal production for 1992, as reported to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (Division of Mines), was 42,561,779 tons, up a modest 0.5 percent from the 1991 total of 42,336,136. Underground production, at 34,389,198 tons, was up 0.4 percent from 1991. Within this category, longwall mining accounted for 9,322,187 tons of coal, up nearly 11 percent from the previous year's total. Surface production, at 8,172,580 tons, rose 1 percent.
While production figures reversed the downward trend of the previous year (after 1990's record totals), Virginia's coal industry is still experiencing the lack of vitality common to the nation's coal industry as a whole. Signs point to possible benefits to the Commonwealth's low-sulfur resource of the national Clean Air Act passed in 1990, which will begin to take effect over the coming years. This directory continues the tradition of monitoring trends which have an impact on Virginia coal - mining productiving, exports, and more - and which will continue to affect it in the future.
Total Virginia coal production for 1991, as reported to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (Division of Mines) was 42,336,136 tons, down 9 percent from the record 1990 total of 46,500,106. This is the lowest production total since 1986, when the figure was just under 41.8 million tons. Underground production, at 34,248,769 tons, was down 12 percent from 1990. Longwall mining accounted for 8,303,318 tons of coal, down 15 percent from the previous year's total. Virginia's overall drop in coal production was due in part both to mild weather conditions and to the continuing recession. Surface production, at 8,086,417 tons, was up almost 5.5 percent - its highest since 1982.
Virginia coal received the promise of a boost in 1991, when a 786-megawatt, coal-fired facility near Clover in Halifax Count, jointly proposed by Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) and Virginia Power, was approved by the Virginia Air Pollution Board after protracted conflict. Clover wil be the only utility-owned, coal-fired facility in the state which uses both low-sulfur coal and wet scrubbers; the scrubbers will capture between 94 and 95 percent of the incoming coal's sulfur content. A permit for the plant was also required from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which granted approval to the project in January of 1992.
While its coal industry is experiencing a minor downswing, it is certain that the Commonwealth's low-sulfur resource will continue to play an important part in both the economy and future of Virginia. This directory seeks to track the trends affecting that resource - mining, productivity, exports, and more - through 1991.
The past year brought many new challenges and opportunities to the coal industry across the U.S. The onset of conflict in the petroleum-rich Persian Gulf focused national attention on coal as a secure, domestic energy resource. At the same time, passage of a new, federal Clean Air Act promised to more stringently regulate emissions from the vast majority of coal-burning facilities nationwide. With these regulations, however, has come the possibility of increased consumption of Virginia's low-sulfur coal.
In Virginia, 1990 was a record year; 46.5 million tons of coal were produced in their state's seven, southwestern coal counties: Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise. Coal exports were also impressive, with record 61.0 million tons passing through the Port of Hampton Roads. Although the number of active mines in the state continued to decline, modern extraction methods - particularly longwall mining - and an overall increase in the productivity of Virginia's miners made possible the increased production of coal from a small number of operations. Too, it has only recently become possible to mine seams which would, in earlier decades, have been inaccessible. Through expanded productivity and accessibility, Virginia coal operators have been able to increase production and sales in a very competitive market.
Coal endures as an important part of Virginia's economy, and plays a vital role in the nation's energy security. Moreover, it is believed that over half of the state's original reserves still lie underground. This edition of Virginia Coal, published by the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, is a complete data reference and directory of all coal mining which occurred in Virginia during the calendar year 1990. It is dedicated to the many men and women of Virginia who owe their liveliehoods to coal, and to a healthy and productive coal industry.