Houston — For the second quarter in a row, Northern Appalachia coal production in the second quarter fell to over a 25-year low, as the coronavirus pandemic led to a decrease in power demand and cutbacks from miners, according to data from the US Mine Safety and Health Administration.
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The region produced roughly 15.61 million st of coal in Q2, down 27.9% from 21.64 million st in the previous quarter and 46.4% lower than the 29.12 million st produced in the year-ago quarter. It was the lowest output for any quarter in Northern Appalachia in over 25 years and was also down 42.4% from the five-year Q2 average of 27.09 million st.
Of the 15.61 million st, 97.2%, or 15.18 million st, of it was bituminous coal, while the remaining 430,756 st was anthracite coal. In the previous quarter, bituminous coal made up 96.9%, and anthracite production was at 660,262 st. In the year-ago quarter, bituminous output was at 97.7%, and the remaining 681,623 st was anthracite.
Underground mine production was at an 18-year low of 14.37 million st in Q2, down from 19.84 million st in Q1 and the lowest since 13.62 million st was produced in Q2 2002.
Murray Energy's Marshall County underground mine in West Virginia was the largest mine in the region with a Q2 production total of 1.9 million st, down from 2.16 million st in Q1 and 3.42 million st in the year-ago quarter.
After the Marshall County mine was Alliance Resource Partners' Tunnel Ridge mine, which produced 1.66 million st in Q2, down from 1.82 million st in Q1 and 1.71 million st in Q2 2019.
Rounding out the top three was Contura Energy's Cumberland mine, which produced 1.42 million st in Q2, down from 1.46 million st in Q1 and 1.97 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Of the top 20 producing mines, only four saw quarterly increases in Q2, including Arch Resources' Leer mine, which produced 1.14 million st, up from 942,064 st in Q1 and 1.1 million st in the year-ago quarter. It was the only one mine in the top 20 to see both a quarterly and year-on-year increase.
Murray remains largest NAPP coal producer
Five companies -- Murray, Consol Energy, Alliance, Contura, and Arch -- each produced over 1 million st of coal in Q2 and combined to produce 12.71 million st, down from 17.73 million st in Q1 and 24.29 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Murray, which has been the largest miner in Northern Appalachia every quarter for over 25 years, produced a record-low 5.44 million st in Q2, down from 6.76 million st in Q1 and 11.31 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Murray's six mines each ranked in the top 13 NAPP mines in Q2.
Consol produced 2.39 million st of coal in Q2, down from 5.97 million st in Q1 and 7.22 million st in the year-ago quarter.
In an Aug. 10 quarterly earnings statement, Consol said its Enlow Fork mine was idled in April and was idled throughout the quarter, while the Bailey mine was idled earlier in the quarter but "ran only on an as-needed basis." Enlow Fork produced 243,243 st in Q2, down from 2.37 million st in the previous quarter, while production at Bailey fell to 1.01 million st, from 2.8 million st in Q1.
Surface production falls to record low
Surface production in Northern Appalachia was at a 25-year low 1.23 million st in Q2, down from 1.8 million st in Q1 and 2.29 million st in the year-ago quarter.
Robindale Energy was the largest surface mine producer in the region with output of 160,333 st in Q2, down from 200,847 st in the prior quarter and 216,531 st a year ago.