Met Coal: A Critical Piece of Our Industrial Base

Author: Rich Nolan
met coal, steel, infrastructure

“Coal” might bring to mind power plants and electricity generation but metallurgical coal, often referred to as met coal, has bolstered our nation’s infrastructure and economic strength for decades and is helping build the cities and infrastructure of tomorrow.

As an indispensable ingredient in steel manufacturing, met coal is a vital component of our country’s work to solidify our industrial base, drive economic growth and meet the extraordinary material needs of tomorrow.

Backbone of Modern Infrastructure

Steel is the backbone of modern infrastructure. It forms the skeletal framework of our bridges, the conduits through which our water flows, the sturdy structures that shelter our communities and it’s the irreplaceable core of our energy future. But have you wondered what goes into the making of this essential building block? Enter met coal.

Unlike thermal coal used to generate electricity, met coal is valued for its ability to provide the necessary carbon and heat to transform iron ore into molten iron, which can be further processed into steel.

More than 70% of the world’s steel produced today is made using met coal. And steel isn’t just used in infrastructure. It is used in everything around us, from buildings and transportation systems to renewable energy. Each new megawatt of solar power requires between 35 to 45 tons of steel and each new megawatt of wind power requires 120 to 180 tons of steel. Massive offshore wind turbines require even more.

As we continue to see a growing emphasis on committing to using responsibly produced domestic materials – whether for steel components in solar panels, bridges or vehicles – we must not lose sight of the mining efforts that undergird the steel industry.

Economic Engine

In the U.S., modern mining is responsible mining. We ensure the coal we produce meets the highest safety and environmental standards. Simply put, nobody does it better.

There are over 170 met coal mines that employ tens of thousands of Americans. Coal mining pays high wages and it’s an economic engine in mining communities. Miners are taking home great paychecks – often well more than $85,000 a year – and other benefits including tuition assistance to obtain degrees, flexible work schedules that allow for more time with their families and on-the-job training that sets them up for increasing responsibilities and long-term career success.

American met coal is a key component of our industrial supply chain and our global economic reach. Not only is met coal helping supply the steel for domestic infrastructure, but U.S. coal was exported to 71 countries in 2022 with met coal accounting for 55 percent. American mines are helping provide essential steel to build the infrastructure of tomorrow, in America’s cities and cities across the world.

Made in America Must Mean Mined in America

Under the Biden administration, there has been significant talk of reinvesting in infrastructure, and an emphasis on reshoring supply chains and putting American workers first. We’re here to remind the administration that building tomorrow requires the mines and miners of today. A made-in-America future must also be a mined-in-America future and that includes met coal.

The coal industry isn’t just about extraction and production; it’s about American livelihood, supporting families and building the communities we live in. Coal-producing regions have been the strength of our nation’s energy and industrial sectors for generations. The revenues generated from met coal production infuse life into these communities. As we build and secure our infrastructure for generations to come, let’s forge a future that supports our coal industry and utilizes our homegrown resources.