Get Big Pivots

But it’s been mostly downhill for coal sector since 2005


Colorado had an uptick in coal production last year. Long term, though, there has been a sharp decline, with last year’s production being just a third of only 20 years ago.

The state’s seven active mines last year reported 12.14 million tons in production, an uptick from 10.63 million tons in 2020.

Two-thirds of last year’s production came from four mines in northwestern Colorado. Two of them—Trapper and Colowyo—produced 3.7 million tons for consumption by the Craig Generating Station. The Deserado Mine produced 2.71 million tons for the Bonanza coal plant in nearby Utah, and the Foidel Creek Mine produced 1.74 million tons for the Hayden coal plants.

Colorado’s single largest producing mine was the sole remaining coal mine near Paonia in the North Fork area. There, the West Elk Mine extracted 3.28 million tons.

The Grand Junction Sentinel, citing data from the state’s Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, reported that the seven mines together employed 957 miners.

Nearly all the in-state markets for this coal are expected to go away by 2030, and the Utah power plant is also scheduled to be retired by then. Out-of-state markets may remain for the low-sulphur coal.


Graph: Don Best. Photo, West Elk Mine April 2022, Allen Best

Allen Best
Follow Me
Latest posts by Allen Best (see all)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This