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August 25, 2014updated 27 Jan 2020 1:09pm

The world’s biggest coal consumers

The top ten coal consuming countries account for over 85% of the world’s total coal consumption, with China alone consuming as much as rest of the world together. profiles the ten biggest coal consumers based on latest coal consumption and production data.



China’s coal consumption grew by 4% to 2.75 billion tonnes in 2013 accounting for over half of the world’s total coal consumption in the year. China is also by far the biggest coal producer accounting for about 47.4% of the world’s coal output in 2013.

Coal accounts for more than 65% of total energy consumption in the country. China, the most populous and the biggest energy consuming country, is also the world’s biggest coal importer followed by Japan and India.

United States of America

The US, a net exporter of coal, consumed 651 million tonnes (Mt) of coal in 2013 accounting for about 12% of the world’s total coal consumption. It is also the second biggest coal producing country having accounted for about 13% of global coal production in 2013.

The country’s year-on-year coal consumption was on a declining trend between 2010 and 2012, but increased by 4.6% in 2013 due to higher electricity demand and a rise in natural gas prices. Coal accounted for about 39% of the US’s electricity generation in 2013.

The country’s coal consumption is, however, expected to decrease in 2015 as a number of coal-fired power plants are scheduled to retire in compliance with the implementation of Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).



India burnt 463.28Mt of coal in 2013 accounting for about 8.5% of the world’s total coal consumption. It was also the fifth biggest coal producer in 2013 and accounted for 5.9% of global coal production.

Coal accounts for about 44% of total energy consumption and 68% of electricity generation in the country. India is the third biggest coal importer after China and Japan, and has witnessed significant growth in imports over the last decade especially from South Africa, Indonesia and Australia.


Japan’s coal consumption grew by 3.6% to 183.71Mt in 2013 accounting for about 3.4% of global coal consumption during the year. The country produced just 1Mt of coal in 2013 and is the second biggest coal importer after China.

Coal accounts for 23% of Japan’s total energy consumption and 27% of the country’s electric generation capacity. Japan was the biggest coal importer for three decades before it was surpassed by China in 2012. Japan’s coal consumption is expected to grow even further as its nuclear power capacity is replaced with coal-fired power plants following the Fukushima accident in 2011.

NRI Energy Technology

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