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U.S. Coal Mines Are Running Out of Miners Just as Demand Booms

  • Global coal demand is surging but output from U.S. mines isn’t
  • ‘Miners who have left the industry aren’t coming back’
Workers exit a mine entrance during a shift change near Wylo, West Virginia.

Workers exit a mine entrance during a shift change near Wylo, West Virginia.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Just when the world is clamoring for more coal, U.S. suppliers are facing a shortage of miners. 

The number of coal miners in the U.S. has been sliding for years, and is down about 8.6% from before the pandemic. People who have left are reluctant to come back and young people are even more wary about taking a job in an industry that they’ve consistently been told has no future given the global push toward clean energy.