The industry’s signifigance in the US
The coal mining industry in the United States has played a major role in the development and growth of our nation and continues to provide major benefits as our largest source of electricity generation. The United States is the top coal producing country in the world today and boasts the largest estimated number of recoverable coal reserves. Our coal mining industry has a deep rooted history that has helped to shape the society we live in today.
How it all began
The first commercial mining of coal began in 1748 in mines in Richmond, VA. During this time, coal was used to manufacture ammunition for the Revolutionary War. Later in the 1700’s, coal was discovered and mined in Pittsburg on what was then called “Coal Hill” and now known as Mt. Washington. Coal was used to heat homes and military camps during this time.
As coal mining progressed early Americans began to find more uses for the material like heating salt brines, lighting streets and making glass. The value of coal continued to rise as more uses were found during the 1800’s. An event that created a use for coal that significantly changed the US coal industry was the completion of the first American local motive. Rather than using the traditional energy source of wood, American operators chose to use coal to power the train. This use caused exponential growth in coal demand that gave the US coal industry a solid starting point.
Coal was used for electrical generation in 1882 and finally took control as the major electricity fuel in 1961. Coal still fuels the majority of our nation today and provides many jobs and state and national incomes. The United States coal industry fuels even more employment outside of its own industry by contributing 90% of its production to provide an energy source for US power plants.
Where it is now
Our coal industry continues to grow and change even 265 years after its start in Richmond. Today’s coal industry leaders are focused on reducing emissions and production costs as well as increasing efficiency and employee satisfaction. There are many coal mining associations and unions in the United States that work toward advancing the technologies and techniques used in coal mining to reduce environmental impact and build a safer workplace for miners. Without the hard work of coal mining companies in the US, our nation would not be able to access one of our most important resources. Coal makes a major contribution to our national economy as a material that provides a much needed energy source and can also be exported.
Wollam Construction provides the heavy industrial contracting needed to build safe and sturdy structures for US coal mining companies throughout the Intermountain West. Much like the coal mining companies themselves, we are committed to the safety of our employees and quality workmanship. Our work can be seen in a number of coal mines throughout the Intermountain West including the Westmoreland and Bridger coal mines. Visit us online for more information on Wollam and make sure to check out our gallery to see our completed coal mine projects.