Countries with the biggest coal reserves

6 January 2020 (Last Updated June 17th, 2020 11:44)

More than 90% of the world's total proved coal reserves are located in just ten countries. The US tops the list holding more than one-fifth of the total proven coal reserves, while China, which ranks third, is the biggest producer and consumer of coal. Mining Technology profiles the ten countries with the biggest coal reserves, based on total proved reserves.

Countries with the biggest coal reserves

United States of America – 250.2 billion tonnes

The United States holds the world’s biggest coal reserves. The nation’s proved coal reserves as of December 2018 stood at 250.2 billion tonnes (Bt) accounting for approximately 24% of the world’s proven coal reserves.

Coal reserves in the US are widely distributed geographically with Montana, Wyoming, Illinois, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania hosting more than three-fourth of the total reserves. The North Antelope Rochelle coal mine operated by Peabody Energy in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming is the world’s biggest coal mine by reserves.

The US is also the world’s third-biggest producer and consumer of coal. It produced 685 million tonnes (Mt) of coal (approximately 9.3% of the world’s total) in 2018. The country accounted for 8.4% of the world’s total coal consumption in the same year. Coal accounts for approximately 27% of the country’s electricity generation.

Russia – 160.3 billion tonnes

The Russian Federation’s proven coal reserves as of December 2018 accounted for 15.2% 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-third of the coal produced in Russia is hard coal, with Pechora and Kuznetsk basins being 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-biggest producer and consumer of coal in the world. It produced 420Mt of coal and consumed 88Mt oil-equivalent of coal in 2018. Russia is also the third biggest coal exporter in the world;  the country exported 210Mt of coal in 2018.

Australia – 147.4 billion tonnes

Australia’s proven coal reserves of 147.4Bt (2018 estimate) account for approximately 14% 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 the majority of Australia’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 483Mt of coal (7.7% of world total) in 2018. Most (79%) of Australia’s coal output is, however, exported, making it the world’s second-biggest coal exporter after Indonesia. Australia exported 382Mt of coal in 2018.

China – 138.8 billion tonnes

China’s proven coal reserves constitute 13% of the world’s total. 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 reserves.

China is also the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal. It produced 3.55Bt of coal (46.7% of the world’s total coal production), while its coal consumption accounted for more than 50% of the world’s total in 2018. More than 70% of China’s electricity generation is based on coal. China imported 295Mt of coal in 2018, becoming the world’s biggest coal importer.

India – 101.3 billion tonnes

India’s proven coal reserves as of December 2018 accounted for more than 9% of the world’s total. The major hard coal deposits of the country are located in the eastern states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and West Bengal, which 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 second-biggest coal producer and consumer, after China. It produced 771Mt of Coal (7.9% of the world’s total) in 2018. India also accounts for 12% of the world’s total coal consumption. It imported 240Mt of coal in 2018, becoming the world’s second-biggest coal importer. More than 70% of India’s electricity generation is based on coal.

Indonesia – 37 billion tonnes

Proven coal reserves of Indonesia as of December 2018 accounted for 3.5% of the world’s total proved coal reserves.

The country’s coal reserves are mostly concentrated in South Sumatra, East Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan. The East Kalimantan province accounts for more than half of Indonesia’s total coal output. The Kaltim Prima coal mine located in East Kalimantan is the biggest coal mine in Indonesia.

Indonesia is the fourth biggest coal producer in the world. It produced 549Mt of coal and exported 439Mt in 2018 , becoming the world’s biggest coal exporter. Indonesia is a major regional supplier of coal for the Asian markets including China and India.

Germany – 36.1 billion tonnes

Holding the biggest coal reserves in Europe, Germany hosts 3.4% 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 and Hambach open-cast coal mines in the North Rhine-Westphalia state are considered to be Europe’s biggest brown coal mines.

Germany produced 169Mt of coal in 2018, out of which 185Mt was brown coal. It contributed to 1.2% of the world’s total coal production and accounted for 2.1% of the world’s total coal consumption in 2018. Germany imported 45Mt of coal in 2018. Coal accounts for 43% of Germany’s electricity generation.

Ukraine – 34.37 billion tonnes

Ukraine’s share in the world’s total proved coal reserves is 3.3%. 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 0.4% of the world’s total coal and accounted for 0.7% of the world’s total coal consumption in 2018. It produced 33.29Mt of coal including 27.48Mt of thermal coal and 5.81Mt of coking coal in 2018.

Poland – 26.4 billion tonnes

Poland’s proven coal reserves at the end of 2018 accounted for approximately 2.5% of the world’s total proved coal reserves.

Most of the country’s hard coal reserves are located in Upper Silesia and in the Lublin basin in eastern Poland, while the Belchatow lignite basin in central Poland accounts for more than half of Poland’s total lignite production. The Belchatow lignite mine provides coal supply for the 5.29GW Belchatow power plant, which is the biggest coal-fired power plant in Europe.

Poland is the world’s ninth biggest and Europe’s second biggest coal producer. It produced 122Mt of coal in 2018, accounting for 1.2% of the world’s total coal output. It also accounted for 1.3% of the world’s total coal consumption during the same year. Approximately 80% of the country’s electricity generation is based on coal.

Kazakhstan – 25.6 billion tonnes

With more than 400 coal deposits, Kazakhstan has approximately 2.4% of the world’s total proved coal reserves.

The country’s proved coal reserves are mostly concentrated in three provinces 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 biggest coal producer in the world. It produced 114Mt of coal in 2018, accounting for 1.3% of the world’s total coal production in the year. The country accounted for 1.1% of the world’s total coal consumption during the same year.

NRI Energy Technology

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