Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Coking coal of the United States—Modern and historical coking coal mining locations and chemical, rheological, petrographic, and other data from modern samples

April 19, 2021

Coking coal, or metallurgical coal, has been produced in the United States for nearly 200 years. Coking coal is primarily used in the production of coke for use in the steel industry, and for other uses (for example, foundries, blacksmithing, heating buildings, and brewing). Currently, U.S. coking coal is produced in Alabama, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Virginia , and West Virginia. Historically, coking coal has also been produced in 15 other states (Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), but currently is not. Coals from the Appalachian, Arkoma, and Illinois basins are Pennsylvanian in age, while coals in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming range in age from Early Cretaceous through Eocene.

This Open-File Report presents the geographic locations of current and historical coking coal deposits of the United States, with additional information about recent and historical mining and exploration activities. Chemical, rheological, petrographic, and other criteria for evaluating the coking potential of coals are discussed, and historical data for coking coals in the United States are presented. In addition, new coking coal samples from Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma were collected and analyzed for this report, and the data are presented in multiple tables, including proximate and ultimate analyses; calorific value; sulfur forms; major-, minor-, and trace-element abundances; Free-Swelling Index; Gieseler Plastometer analyses; American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) dilatation; coal petrography; and predicted values of Coal Stability Factor and Coal Strength after Reaction with CO2 (pCSF and pCSR, respectively). Data from previously analyzed coking coal samples in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia were supplied by three companies, including results from all the tests listed above, plus oxidation, Hardgrove Grindability Index, and ash fusion (in a reducing environment) temperatures are also presented in tables in the report.

Geographic Information System (GIS) data compiled for this project are available for download for public and private utilization and may be used to create maps for a variety of energy resource studies. These GIS data are in shapefile format, and metadata files are included describing all GIS processing. Additional geographic information about coking coal areas of the United States are also presented in tabular format in the report, including the following: names of coal basins, fields, regions, districts, and areas; coal beds or zones; geographic locations including States, counties, towns, rivers, mountains, etc.; stratigraphic hierarchy and age of the coal-bearing interval; coking characteristics including sulfur content, ash yield, volatile matter, moisture, calorific value, and Free-Swelling Index; coal rank; names of coal mines and coal-mining companies; current and past mining activity; and references for reports about the coal.