Graphic Of The Day: Why They Keep "Removing" Appalachian Mountain Tops
Via::US Energy Information Administration, Coal News and Markets, Average Weekly Coal Commodity Spot Prices, Business Week Ended July 11, 2008
High priced coal from Appalachia is used for making activated charcoal, high quality steel, and so on. Because the whole world is running short of the 'good stuff', the spot price for that high energy coal is running up, and mining companies can export it at a premium.
If the 3X price differential with Powder River basin coal was driven mainly by cross-country rail hauling costs, they would be disassembling old steel plants in West Virginia and reassembling them in Montana. But it's more complex than that.
Think ahead to what would happen if Europe enacts and enforces a carbon cap and trade or tax system that impacts coal burning industries. And the USA does not. Would that not cause a restart of mothballed steel making capacity in the USA?
In any future case, without the USA buying into a global carbon control scheme, they won't stop until they have blown the top off of bloody Blair Mountain.
For more good fun with Coal Graphics, check out these posts from the past.
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Peak Coal Comes To Appalachia
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All Aboard: Romance and Profit On The Coal Train