US coal exports fuel nation’s economy

Rising exports of US coal to Europe and Asia boosted the country’s economy by $16.6 billion (£11bn) in 2011 and helped create jobs. In a report released by the National […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Rising exports of US coal to Europe and Asia boosted the country’s economy by $16.6 billion (£11bn) in 2011 and helped create jobs.

In a report released by the National Mining Association (NMA), analysts at Ernst & Young found 107 million tons of coal exported in 2011 supported 141,270 “high-wage” jobs, “paying nearly 50% above industry averages”. They estimated a “record volume” of 125.7 million tons exported last year also supported more than 168,000 jobs.

The report also found US coal mines exported around 5% of total production on average between 2000-2010 and have since doubled the export share to around 10% of production.

Hal Quinn, NMA President and CEO said: “This report confirms the valuable contributions that our economy derives from US coal exports. These benefits include good jobs for American workers – from the mines to rail transport and port facilities – as well as new revenue for state and local governments pressed to fund essential services.

“The U.S. has the world’s largest supply of coal at a time when the rest of the world – from Germany to China – is using more coal to ensure affordable and reliable electricity and as an essential input in steelmaking.”

The average annual income per worker in the US coal export market is believed to be just over $96,000 (£63,613).

Earlier this week, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said the EU is “throwing away €1.1 billion” (£0.93bn) every day on fossil fuel import costs.