Central Appalachian Coal
Central Appalachian Coal is coal produced in the Central Appalachian region comprised of the counties located in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, and eastern Tennessee. West Virginia and Kentucky are considered the two largest coal producers. Production by both states represented 89% of the region’s coal production in 2008.
Central Appalachian coal is produced as steam coal used to generate electricity, and metallurgical coal (also known as “met” coal) used primarily to manufacture steel. Central Appalachian met coal is high-grade bituminous coal (high in energy content, 12,500 btu/lb, and low impurities). Central Appalachian steam coal is generally high-grade bituminous coal as well, and some can be sold as met coal.
Central Appalachian coal dominates the US met coal market, and has a major share on coal exports to the rest of the world, with little competition. Therefore, the price of met coal is largely driven by demand for the resource. In the case of steam coal, there is more competition and prices are determined by cost of production.
Central Appalachian coal is traded at the NYMEX under ticker symbol QL. Contract size is 1,550 tons quoted in US dollar and cents per ton. Settlement type is physical. It is also traded ah the ICE Europe under ticker symbol UCA. Contract size is 1,550 tons quoted in US dollar and cents per ton. Settlement type is physical.
- Rory McIlmoil, Evan Hansen: The Decline of Central Appalachian Coal and the Need for Economic Diversification