Kentucky Coal Production
Kentucky has been one of the top three producing coal states in the United States for decades, and currently ranks third. According to the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals, more than 8.36 billion tons of coal have been produced from the two Kentucky coal fields for the past 200 years. The Eastern Kentucky Coal Field has produced more than 5.78 billion tons and the Western Kentucky Coal Field has produced more than 2.58 billion tons. The statistics below are based on Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals data unless otherwise stated. The most recent annual report of the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals’ Office of Mine Safety and Licensing can be found on their website.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration also provides statistics on coal production. Their statistics differ slightly from the State’s. The most recent annual coal report from the Energy Information Administration can be found at their website.
Coal Production Highlights
- First recorded production: 20 tons, in present-day Lee County, 1790
- Cumulative production, 1790–2001: 8.36 billion tons
- Half of the total production was within the last 25 years
- First significant surface mining: Hopkins County, 98,200 tons, 1922
- Largest annual production by county: Pike County, 35.7 million tons, 1999
- Largest total cumulative production by county: Pike County, 1.33 billion tons, 1904–2001