Coal Mine Production Slips in Oklahoma

A new federal government report reveals U.S. coal production dropped nearly 19% in 2016 and the same decline was reflected in Oklahoma’s coal mining operations.

U.S. production dropped 18.8% year-over-year to 728.4 million short tons, the lowest annual production level since 1979.

The report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicated the number of mining operations in Oklahoma dropped from 2015 to 2016. There were four surfacing mining operations in the state two years ago but they fell to three last year. The number of underground coal mining operations remained at one from 2015 to 2016.

The number of coal miners in the state also fell 12.6% in the year-to-year comparison, dropping from 87 workers in 2015 to 76 last year. As a result there was a nearly 16% drop in the average production per employee hour. It fell from 1.82 tons in the surface mining category to 1.54 short tons. Underground production remained at 1.86 tons per employee hour.


Nationally, the number of employees at U.S. coal mines dropped 21.5% to 51,795 last year which is the lowest level on record since EIA began collecting data in 1978.

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