China is the largest producer of coal in the world, while the United States contains the world's largest coal reserves. China and the US are also among the largest coal consumers. Other important coal producing countries include: Australia, India, South Africa, and Russia.
In the United States the Appalachian Mountains region is the major area of mining bituminous coal. There are also large fields of bituminous coal in the Midwest and along the Rocky Mountains. However, most of the coal that comes form the Western states are lower grade subituminous and lignite.
One of the largest deposits of anthracite coal is in Northeastern Pennsylvania, called the Coal Region of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania , Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Wyoming produces the most coal of any state, however Montana has the most coal reserves. The largest mine in the world is the Black Thunder Coal Mine near Gillette, Wyoming.
Coal fields in Wales, Yorkshire and other parts of the United Kingdom used to be major mining areas. However, during the 1980s and 1990s there was a major downturn in the British mining industry due to increased use of natural gas in electrical power stations and cheaper imports. Very few working coal mines/open cast quarries now exist in Britain. Parts of Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Russia are major coal areas in Europe. Coal is still an important supply of energy, especially electricity production, in many European countries, but is being phased out due to environmental concerns.
India has some of the largest reserves of coal in the world (approx. 253 billion tonnes ). The energy derived from coal in India is about twice that of energy derived from oil, whereas world-wide, energy derived from coal is about 30% less than energy derived from oil.
In South Africa coal is mined in several regions, mainly in the East Rand around Witbank, in the Vaal valley around the Vaal Triangle and at Dundee and Newcastle in northern KwaZulu Natal. South Africa is currently the leading African coal producer.
Russia is currently the 5th largest producer of coal in the world, and is 2nd largest with reserves estimated at 175 billion t. The majority of its coal is located behind the Ural mountains in Siberia. By 1999 approximately a third of coal mining business was privatized. Since then, the industry has concentrated in hands of few companies - coking coal producers were integrated with steel makers, and two national leaders in steam coal emerged. Russian coal miners have recently campaigned for improvements in their working conditions, leading to some reform.
Canada holds 78 billion tonnes of coal. This is primarily bituminous and subbituminous coal, though Saskatchewan holds significant reserves of lignite coal. The Elk Valley, located in the southeast corner of British Columbia, is host to one of the world's largest deposits of hard coking coal. Five mines are operated by the Elk Valley Coal Corporation in this area.
Pakistan is currently world's seventh largest coal-producing country with coal reserves of more than 185 billion tons (second in the world after U.S.A.'s 247 billion tons). Almost all (99 percent) of Pakistan's coal reserves are found in the province of Sindh. Pakistan's largest coal field is Thar coal field which is spread over an area of 9100 square kilometers, and contains 175 billion tons of coal. So far this coal field has not been developed but efforts are underway. There are estimates that approximately 50,000 MW electricity can be produced from thar coal field for 3 centuries. It is equivalent to the 400 billion barrels of oil reserves, i.e., Saudi Arabia's and Iran's put together.