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Wyoming dominates sales of coal produced from federal and Indian lands
August 7, 2013

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that annual sales of coal produced from federal and Indian lands in the United States ranged between 415 Mt – 461 Mt (458 – 509 million st) from fiscal year (FY) 2003 to FY2012. During the same period, sales of coal produced from federal and Indian lands in Wyoming ranged from 323 Mt – 373 Mt (356 - 411 million st), 76 to 83 percent of the U.S. total.

Most of the coal being mined in the Wyoming portion of the Powder River Basin (PRB) is being produced from federal and Indian lands; Wyoming mines in the PRB are the largest in the United States. Total production of coal in Wyoming, as measured by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), tracks closely with the sales of coal produced from federal and Indian lands within the state, as measured by the Interior Department's Office of Natural Resources Revenue. Using these sales as a proxy for production, Wyoming’s federal and Indian lands production has been about 82 to 95 percent of Wyoming's total production over the past decade, according to EIA.

The revenue collected by the federal government from the sales of coal from federal and Indian lands within Wyoming ranged from a low of $303 million in FY2003 to a high of $638 million in FY2012. Under current law, 49 percent of revenue associated with onshore federal lands goes directly to the state, and 100 percent of the revenue associated with Indian lands goes to the respective Indian tribes and individual Indian mineral owners.

Between FY2008, when coal production in Wyoming was at a record high level, and FY2012, coal production in the state declined 10 percent. Sales of coal produced from federal and Indian lands in Wyoming declined 9 percent in the same period. The decline seen in FY2009 can be attributed to the economic downturn that reduced electricity demand. The continuing decline through FY2012 reflects slow growth in electricity demand together with a reduced coal share in the generation mix because of relatively low natural gas prices and growing amounts of generation from renewable technologies, especially wind.

Figure source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
Note: The federal government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30, and is designated by the calendar year in which it ends

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