The United States exports more coal to other countries than it imports. Between 2014 and 2020, about 12 percent of the coal produced in the United States, on average, was exported to other countries. According to the World Energy Council, more than one-fourth of the world’s economically recoverable coal reserves are in the United States – making the U.S. the largest repository of coal in the world.
In 2020, the United States exported almost 70 MMst (MMst=million short tons) of coal to at least 50 countries. Metallurgical coal can be used for steel production, and steam coal can be used for electricity generation. Metallurgical coal accounted for about 61 percent of total U.S. coal exports in 2020, while steam coal accounted for 39 percent of total U.S. coal exports.
About 56 percent of U.S. coal exports in 2020 went to five countries. The top five destinations of U.S. coal exports, the amount exported, and their percent shares of total coal exports in 2020 were:
South Korea—6.53 MMst—10%
The Netherlands—5.80 MMst—8%
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