Top 10 Biggest Coal Mines of the World By Reserve

Top 10 Biggest Coal Mines of the World By Reserve

Coal is one of the oldest fuels that has been used to power the modern world. Before humans could generate electricity on a large scale or harness the power of petroleum fuels through the internal combustion engine, they used coal to power factories and trains.

Coal is being phased out in the developed world today because it is one of the dirtiest fuels ever discovered. Other countries, particularly India and China, continue to rely heavily on fuel. In contrast to the United States, which has reached the end of its industrialization phase, industries in these countries are still expanding. They, of course, require massive amounts of power, which can be generated cheaply using coal.

There are more than 3,032 coal mines in operation globally.

China mines almost half the world’s coal, followed by India with about a tenth. Australia accounts for about a third of world coal exports, followed by Indonesia and Russia.

China is the largest coal-producing country in the world, with production reaching 3,942 million tonnes, a 2.5% growth. The country’s coal mine production is expected to remain flat, at a CAGR of just 1.1% between 2021 and 2025, to reach 4.1 billion tonnes in 2025.

The output will be affected by the country’s continued plans to reduce outdated coal production capacity. India, the second-largest coal-producing country, with the production of 767 million tonnes in 2021.

Similarly, India approved a new production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, which is expected to encourage EV production and hydrogen fuel vehicles, which will lead to a reduction in coal production in the coming years. Other top coal-producing countries like Indonesia, the United States of America, and Australia have also taken measures to reduce coal production.

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Location: US

The North Antelope Rochelle Mine is a surface mine in Wyoming, America. Peabody Energy owns the greenfield mine, which is expected to produce 60.78 million tonnes of coal in 2022. The mine will be in operation until 2047.

READ MORE: Top 10 Largest Underground Salt Mines in the World by Producion

Location: China

The Haerwusu Coal Mine in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China has the second largest coal reserves of more than 1.6 billion tonnes recoverable, also making it the biggest open-cast coal mine in China.

Owned and operated by China’s state-run Shenhua Group, the mine is spread across 67km² in the middle of the Zhungeer Coalfield. Its development cost was approximately $1.1bn, while first coal was produced in October 2008.

The mine’s annual output is estimated to be 20Mt of crude coal and reserve life is more than 70 years.

Location: China

The Hei Dai Gou, also known as Heidaigou, is an open-pit coal mine in the middle of the Zhungeer coal field in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region that is estimated to have 1.5 billion tonnes of recoverable coal reserves.

The mine is 150 kilometers south-west of Ordos and has a planned mining area of 42 kilometers2. The mine is owned and operated by Shenhua Group.

Hei Dai Gou, China’s first coal mine to use an AC-powered Walking Dragline, has been in operation since 1999. It mines coal with low sulfur and phosphorus levels. The mine’s designed annual raw coal output is up to 31Mt.

Location: Russia

The Raspadskaya mine in the Russian Federation’s Kemerovo region is the country’s largest coal mine. As of December 2018, Raspadskaya’s proved and probable coal reserves were estimated to be 1.34 billion tonnes.

Raspadskaya’s mining operation includes two underground mines, Raspadskaya and MUK-96, as well as one open-pit mine, Razrez Raspadsky. The mine is owned and operated by Coal Company Raspadskaya.

Raspadskaya coal mining began in the late 1970s. The mine only produces coking coal. In 2018, production totaled 12.7Mt, up 11% from 11.4Mt in 2017.

Location: Germany

The Garzweiler coal mine is the largest open pit mine in Germany at 66km squared actual mine size, with a larger approved area for excavation. Its coal is 5-30 million years old, forming in seams up to 100m thick. Sitting at 299m below sea level at its deepest point, Garzweiler is the deepest open pit mine in respect to sea level. It produces 40 million tons of brown coal (lignite) annually and is predicted to run out by 2040.

Location: Mozambique

As of December 2018, the Moatize coal mine in Mozambique’s Tete Province had estimated recoverable coal reserves of 985.7Mt (194.8Mt proven and 791Mt probable).

Moatize is operated by the Brazilian mining company Vale, which owns 80.75% of the mine. Mitsui (14.25% ownership) and Empresa Mocambicana de Exploracao Mineria (5% ownership) hold the remaining stakes.

Vale’s first Greenfield project in Africa is Moatize. In 2006, the concession to build and operate the mine was granted. In August 2011, the open-pit coal mine began operations. The mine produced 11.5 million tons of coal, including 6.1 million tons of metallurgical coal and 5.4 million tons of thermal coal. Vale plans to ramp up the annual production capacity of the mine to 22Mt.

Location: US

Arch Resources owns the Black Thunder Mine in Wyoming, United States. In 2022, the surface mine is expected to produce 58.22 million tonnes of coal.

Seven active pit areas and three loadout facilities make up the surface mining complex. The raw coal produced is shipped directly via the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads.

In 2018, Black Thunder produced 71.1Mt of raw coal, up from 70.5Mt in 2017. The mine’s coal is shipped to customers via the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads.

Location: Australia

Peak Downs coal mine in central Queensland, Australia, was estimated to have 718 million tons of recoverable coal reserves as of June 2019.

Peak Downs is one of seven mines owned and operated by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) in the Bowen Basin. It is an open-cut mine that uses draglines and truck/shovel fleets to remove overburden.

It began operations in 1972 and produced more than 11.8 million tons of metallurgical coal in the fiscal year ending 30 June 2019. The mine’s coal output is shipped by rail to the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay.

Location: Australia

As of June 2019, the Mt Arthur coal mine in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, Australia, had recoverable coal reserves of 591Mt (292Mt proven and 299Mt probable).

BHP Billiton owns and operates the mining operation, which consists primarily of two open-cut mining areas, the Northern Open Cut and the Southern Open Cut. Mt Arthur is home to more than 20 coal seams. The mining operation began in 1968.

Mt Arthur coal mine produces thermal coal for local and international energy customers. Its annual coal production exceeds 18Mt. The mine’s reserve life is estimated to be 35 years.

Location: Australia

As of June 2029, the Goonyella Riverside mine in central Queensland, Australia, has estimated recoverable coal reserves of 549Mt (530Mt proven and 19Mt probable).

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) owns and operates the open-pit coal mine. The Goonyella mine, which began operations in 1971, was merged with the nearby Riverside mine in 1989.

The Goonyella Riverside mine produced 17.1Mt of coking coal in the fiscal year ending 30 June 2019, up from 15.8Mt the previous year. BMA has stated that autonomous haulage will be implemented at Goonyella Riverside in 2019.

The Republic of India is a South Asian country with the world’s second largest population and third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. Coal is the most important source of electricity in India, and despite producing a significant amount of it, the country must import a significant amount of coal for steel production. The government controls the majority of the coal sector in India, with only a few large private players.

The People’s Republic of China is the world’s most populous country, as well as the world’s largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. China is also the world’s largest producer of coal, as well as its largest consumer. In 2021, the country produced 4,126 million tons of coal, more than the next four countries combined. China Shenhua Energy Company Limited is a major Chinese coal company.

Australia, or the Commonwealth of Australia, is a developed country with abundant natural resources. Like in other developed countries, coal is used to generate the majority of Australia’s electricity. However, it has gradually reduced its reliance on coal, and between 2013 and 2020, Australia reduced its reliance on coal by 3.6%, replacing it with wind and solar power.

The Russian Federation is the world’s largest country in terms of landmass, and it is rich in oil, gas, coal, and other minerals. Russian firms are among the world’s largest suppliers of gas, and it is also the world’s sixth largest producer of coal. Furthermore, while Russian coal is used to generate electricity in countries such as Turkey and India, it only accounts for about one-fifth of Russia’s total power requirement. Russian exports are also under scrutiny this year as a result of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which has caused Europe to diversify its energy supply chain away from the country.

The United States of America, or the US, is a global superpower that exports both technology and primary goods. America is the world’s largest exporter of a variety of commodities, including grain, and it also has the most coal reserves. American companies that generate electricity from coal have seen their fortunes improve this year as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biggest coal mines in the world are located in large coal-producing countries. Russia, China, India are among the biggest coal producing countries and also home to largest coal mines in the world.

The North Antelope Rochelle coal mine in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin is the world’s largest coal mine by reserve. The mine was estimated to contain more than 2.3 billion tonnes of recoverable coal.

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