Where does most of the coal mined in West Virginia go? Was it any different in the past?
In 2002,, 163,347,203 tons of coal were mined in West Virginia. West Virginia coal is used nationally and internationally. In 1997, 38,450,000 tons were exported to foreign ports, representing about 46 percent of the total coal exports from the United States. Much of the exported coal from West Virginia is used for steel manufacturing. Of the remaining production, 37,142,000 tons were consumed in West Virginia, mainly for electrical power generation, while 106,322,000 tons were shipped to other states, where electric utilities consumed 79 percent, steel makers used 16 percent, and others consumed the remaining 5 percent (Source: West Virginia Coal Association). In recent decades, use of West Virginia coal for electrical power generation has increased, while use in coke production for steel manufacturing has decreased. Earlier in the 1900s, West Virginia coal was used extensively as fuel for steamships and steam locomotives.