Coal Mining in an Energy-Conscious Society
While oil and gas presently supply about three-fourths of the energy needs in the United States, coal is a more important resource for the future since it has a known recoverable reserve of 4,500 quadrillion BTUs, or about 80% of the recoverable energy in our mineral fuels. These figures indicate why coal is presently considered to be one of the most important factors in combatting the present U.S. energy crisis and why coal mining is an active and growing industry.
The convenience of oil and gas projects and the promise of inexpensive nuclear power have long held back coal production, but the Arab oil embargo and the failure to develop nuclear capacity to meet U.S. energy needs have increased the need for coal in the past few years. Tonnage figures for 1984 show that coal production has risen to 896 million ton, up from about 600 million ton in 1974, while the demand has drastically increased the value of coal mined from over $9 billion in...
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