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Coal Exec: Energy Demand May Strain Mines

From the Deseret Morning News:
America's voracious appetite for energy will put tremendous pressure on the nation's coal industry, according to Steven Leer, chief executive officer of Arch coal, which owns three coal mines in Utah and is the state's largest coal producer.

Today, about 50 percent of the nation's electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants. Leer said that market share will grow by another 7 percent in coming years. In fact, projections show that by 2030 the nation will need 700 million tons of coal more than what is being produced today, a 68 percent increase.

"That is a huge number," Leer said Thursday at the Utah Mining Association's annual convention. "It's going to be a challenge to every man and woman in this room.
As we've seen in the past, there are other ways the coal supply can be disrupted.

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Don Kosloff said…
There is another challenge that was not mentioned. Miners are getting older. One solution to increased demand for coal is to increase working hours. Working 60 hours (or more) a week underground on rotating shifts is something that most policy makers could not even imagine for people who are 30 years old. But the reality is that there are now 60-year old miners working at such levels for extended periods of time. On top of that, right now, without even more demand for production, there is a serious shortage of mine supervisors.

If that isn't enough, where is all the new mining machinery going to come from?

The slack that has existed historically for policy makers with respect to the coal mining industry is gone.

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