Mining Association Disputes Remaining Coal Reserves in Powder River Basin – Says There are 400 – Not 40 Years of Supply Left
A report from the Associated Press on Tuesday which quoted 'an exhaustive government analysis' that showed that the Powder River Basin along the Montana-Wyoming border only holds another 40 years of supply, was disputed today by the National Mining Association in Washington D.C.
Vice President for External Communications with the National Mining Association, Luke Popovich, said the AP report has a major problem with math.
"I think they dropped a zero from the length of time that they think the Powder River Basin coal will last," Popovich said. "It's not 40 years. According to the official statistics from the Department of Energy, there are 400 years of recoverable coal in the Powder River Basin at current rates. So, I don't think they're looking at the official numbers for coal that are currently recoverable."
Popovich said the disparity comes from the ideas of environmental geologists versus those of energy economists.
"It sounds to me like some of the peak coal advocates in the environmental community used those geologist's estimates, and then put that over current prices from today for what Powder River Basin coal is going for, which is an absurdly low number. It is bogus."
Popovich said America has the world's largest supply of recoverable coal.
"We've got 26 percent of the entire world's supply of coal , larger than any country," he continued. "The PRB itself has about 100 billion tons or recoverable coal. That is the recoverable volume according to the official economists in the Department of Energy."
The AP report quoted U.S. Geological Survey geologist Jon Haake, who said the Powder River Basin only has about 40 years of coal at current prices.