There are three primary coal (KOL) mining reserves in the United States, namely the Illinois Basin, the Powder River Basin (or PRB), and the Appalachian regions. The Illinois Basin is located in Illinois, Western Kentucky, and Ohio. The coal mined in this region has high sulfur content. Major players operating include Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) and Peabody Energy (BTU).
PRB coal reserves are spread across Wyoming and Montana. The region is world’s lowest cost thermal coal mining region. It’s also the largest coal-producing region in the United States, accounting for nearly half of the coal produced in the region. Coal mined from the Appalachian region has low sulfur content.
Weekly coal spot prices
During the week ended October 20, 2017, coal spot prices from all the regions remained steady compared to their prices in the week ended October 13. PRB (Powder River Basin) coal settled at $11.75 per short ton, while Illinois Basin spot coal prices closed at $32.60 per short ton.
The spot price for Central Appalachian coal remained constant at $55.50 per short ton. Since the Appalachian region coal mining techniques are expensive, many coal producers shifted their mining activities to the low-cost Illinois Basin region to cut down on the cost of operations. Natural Resource Partners (NRP) is one of the coal companies that still operates in the Appalachian coal reserves. CNX Coal Resources (CNXC) also maintains coal mine reserves in the region.
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