News, views and contacts from the global Mining industry
 

Countries with the biggest coal reserves

21 November 2013




More than 80% of the world's total proved coal reserves are located in just 10 countries. The US tops the list with more than a quarter of the proven coal reserves, while China, which ranks third, is the biggest producer and consumer of coal. Mining-technology.com profiles the 10 countries with the biggest proved coal reserves as of 2012.


The world's biggest coal reserves by country

United States of America

The United States holds the world's biggest coal reserves. The nation's proved coal reserves as of December 2012 stood at 237.295 billion tonnes (Bt) comprising more than one quarter of the total proven coal reserves in the world.

The country's reserves are widely distributed across the country's geography with Montana, Wyoming, Illinois, western Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas hosting most of the reserves. The Peabody Energy-operated North Antelope Rochelle coal mine in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming is the world's biggest coal mine by reserve.

The US is also the world's second largest producer and consumer of coal. It produced 935 million tonnes (Mt) of coal (approximately 13% of the world's total) in 2012. The country accounted for 11.7% of the world's total coal consumption in the same year. Around 43% of the country's electricity generation is fuelled by coal.

Russia

The Russian Federation possesses the second biggest coal reserves. The country was estimated to hold 157.01Bt of proved coal reserves as of December 2012, accounting for about 18% of the world's total.

Russia's major deposits include the Donetskii reserves in Moscow, the Pechora basins in Western Russia and the Kuznetski, Kansk-Achinsk, Irkutsk and South Yakutsk basins in Eastern Russia. More than two-thirds of the coal produced in Russia is hard coal, with Pechora and Kuznetsk basins the principal hard coal deposits. The Kansk-Achinsk Basin is known for huge deposits of sub-bituminous coal, while the Raspadskaya mine in the Kemerovo region is the largest coal mine in Russia.

Russia is the sixth-largest producer and the fifth largest consumer of coal in the world. It produced 359Mt of coal and consumed 93.9 million tonnes oil equivalent of coal in 2012. Russia is also the third biggest coal exporter in the world - the country exported 134Mt of coal in 2012.

China

China holds the third largest coal reserves in the world. Its proven coal reserves as of December 2012 stood at 114.5Bt, constituting about 13% of the world's total proven coal reserves. China is also the world's biggest producer and consumer of coal.

More than 70% of China's proved recoverable coal reserves are located in the north and north-west parts of the country. Shanxi and the Inner Mongolia provinces host a major chunk of accessible coal reserves in the country. The Haerwusu coal mine in Inner Mongolia is the second biggest coal mine in the world, by reserve.

China produced 3.55Bt of coal (47.5% of the world's total coal production) in 2012. The country, however, accounted for more than 50% of the world's total coal consumption in the same year. More than 80% of China's electricity generation is based on coal. China imported 289Mt of coal in 2012 becoming the world's biggest coal importer, followed by Japan.

Australia

The fourth largest coal reserves in the world are held by Australia. The country was estimated to possess 76.4Bt of proved coal reserves at the end of 2012, accounting for about nine percent of the total proven coal reserves in the world.

The country's black coal reserves are mostly concentrated in New South Wales and Queensland, which together account for more than 95% of Australia's black coal output. Victoria hosts about 96% of the country's brown coal reserves. Peak Downs coal mine in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland, followed by the Mt Arthur coal mine in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, is the biggest Australian coal mine by reserve.

Australia is the fifth largest coal producing country in the world. It produced 421Mt of coal (6.3% of world total) in 2012. Most (90%) of Australia's coal output is, however, exported, making it the world's second biggest coal exporter after Indonesia. Australia exported 383Mt of coal in 2012.

India

India holds the fifth biggest coal reserves in the world. The country's proved coal reserves as of December 2013 were estimated at 60.6Bt. India accounts for about seven percent of the world's total proved coal reserves.

The major hard coal deposits of the country are located in the eastern parts of the country. The eastern states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal account for more than 70% of the country's coal reserves. Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are the other significant coal producing states in India. The southern state of Tamil Nadu hosts most of the country's lignite deposits.

India is the third biggest coal producer, after China and the US. India produced 595Mt of Coal (six percent of the world's total) in 2012. The country accounts for eight percent of world's total coal consumption. It imported 160Mt of coal in 2012, becoming the world's third biggest coal importer after China and Japan. About 68% of India's electricity generation comes from coal.

Germany

Germany has the world's sixth biggest amount, with 40.7Bt of proven coal reserves at the end of 2012. Germany possesses about 4.7% of the world's total proved coal reserves.

The Ruhr Coal Basin in the North Rhine-Westphalia state and the Saar Basin in the south-west Germany account for more than 75% of the country's hard coal production. The Rhineland region hosts the country's largest lignite deposits. The Garzweiler open-cast coal mine in the North Rhine-Westphalia state is considered to be Europe's biggest brown coal mine.

Germany is the eighth biggest coal producer and the largest brown coal producer in the world. It produced 197Mt of coal in 2012, out of which 185Mt was brown coal. The country contributed 1.2% of the world's total coal production and accounted for 2.1% of the world's total coal consumption in 2012. Germany imported 45Mt of coal in 2012. Coal accounts for 43% of Germany's electricity generation.

Ukraine

Ukraine holds the seventh largest coal reserves in the world. The country's proved coal reserves as of December 2012 were estimated at 33.873Bt. Ukraine's share in the world's total proved coal reserves is 3.9%.

Most of the country's coal reserves are located in Donets Basin in Eastern Ukraine. Also known as the Donbas Coal basin, the Donets Basin is spread across three Ukrainian provinces, namely Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine has 149 operating coal mines, out of which 120 are state-owned and 29 are private mines. The Komsomolets Donbasu coal mine in the Donetsk Oblast is one of the biggest coal mines in the country.

Ukraine produced 1.2% of the world's total coal production and also accounted for 1.2% of the world's total coal consumption in 2012. It produced 18Mt of coking coal in 2012, becoming the eighth biggest coking coal producing country in the world. Most of the steam coal produced in Ukraine is used for domestic electricity production.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, with more than 400 coal deposits, holds the eighth largest coal reserves in the world. The country was estimated to contain 33.6Bt of proven coal reserves at the end of 2012. It accounts for approximately 3.9% of the world's total proved coal reserves.

The country's proved coal reserves are mostly concentrated in three provincesn including Karaganda Oblast in Central Kazakhstan and the Pavlodar and Kostanay Oblasts in North Kazakhstan. Karaganda and Ekibastuz are the two major coal producing basins in the country. Turgay, Nizhne-Iliyskiy and Maikuben basins are known for their lignite reserves. Bogatyr Access Komir is the biggest open cast mining company in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is the tenth largest coal producer in the world. It produced 126Mt of coal in 2012, comprising about 1.5% of the world's total coal production in the year. The country, however, accounted for just 0.9% of the world's total coal consumption during the same year.

Colombia

Colombia's coal reserves put it in ninth place. Proven coal reserves of the country as of December 2012 were estimated at 6.746Bt, which amount to one fifth of the proved coal reserves of Kazakhstan, the eighth biggest.

Colombia hosts the biggest coal reserves in South America, with reserves mostly concentrated in the Guajira peninsula. The La Guajira and Cesar departments of Colombia account for more than 85% of the country's coal reserves. Correjon is the biggest coal mine in Colombia, followed by the La Loma coal mine. Correjon is also the biggest coal mine in Latin America and the tenth biggest in the world, by reserve.

Colombia produced 85Mt of steam coal in 2012. The country exports more than 90% of its coal output with the 2012 exports at 82Mt. It is the fifth biggest coal exporter in the world. Correjon is the world's biggest coal exporting mine.

Canada

Canada ranks as the tenth biggest in the world, with coal reserves only slightly less than that of Colombia. The proved coal reserves of Canada as of December 2012 stood at 6.582Bt, accounting for about 0.1% of the world's total proved coal reserves.

More than 90% of Canada's coal reserves are located in sedimentary basins in the western part of the country. Nanaimo, Bowser, Skeena, Moose River, Maritime and Bowron River are among the principal coal bearing sedimentary basins.

Canada has a privatised coal industry. Most of the country's coal output is from open pit mines. The TransAlta-owned Highvale Mine in Alberta is the largest surface strip coal mine in the country. Campbell River in British Columbia and Grande Cache in Alberta are the only two underground coal mines operating in the country.

Canada produced 0.9% of the world's total coal production and accounted for 0.6% of the world's total coal consumption in 2012. The country stands as the sixth biggest in coking coal production in the world. It produced 31Mt of coking coal in 2012. Canada is the world's seventh biggest coal exporter with exports in 2012 estimated at 35Mt.

NRI Energy Technology

Related content


Rehabilitating old mining sites

New Zealand coal mining company Solid Energy has developed a new method of using biosolids to rehabilitate old mining sites.

The 10 biggest silver mines in the world

Mexico, the world's biggest silver producing country, and Poland host three each of the world's 10 biggest silver mines.


North Antelope Rochelle coal mine in Wyoming, US, is the world's biggest by reserve.
Raspadskaya is the largest underground coal mine of Russia.
Most of the large coal mines of China are in the Inner Mongolia and Shanxi provinces.
Peak Downs is the biggest coal mine of Australia, by reserve.
Jharia in Jharkhand is one of the biggest coal fields of India.
Garzweil mine in Germany is the largest brown coal mine in Europe.
Komsomolets Donbasu is one of the biggest coal mines in Ukraine.
Ekibastuz colliery is one of the biggest coal mines in Kazakhstan.
Correjon is the largest coal mine in Colombia.
Highvale is the largest open-pit coal mine in Canada.