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In 1982, United States mines produced a record high 833 million short tons of coal (about 1% more than in 1981), indicating that a production plateau has been reached. West Virginia's 1982 production increased 16 million tons from that of 1981, Illinois production increased by 12 million tons, and Wyoming production increased 5 million. Although Kentucky decreased in production, it remained the United States leader by producing 150 million tons, followed by West Virginia's 129 million, and Wyoming's 108 million.
One-half of the 26 producing states increased production in 1982; the other half decreased production. Illinois showed the greatest rate of increase (19%), Montana the greatest rate of decrease (17%).
Regionally, production increased in 5 areas and decreased in 4 areas. In the Eastern Interior it increased 9%, and 5% increases were recorded in both the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Provinces. Ranking first in 1982 was the Appalachian region at 428 million tons of bituminous coal, followed by the Rocky Mountain Province at 175 million tons of bituminous and subbituminous coal, and the Northern Great Plains at 155 million tons of subbituminous and lignitic coal.
In 1982, the second highest quantity of coal exported from the United States (106 million tons) was a 6% decline from 1981. This was 13% of 1982 United States coal production; 61% of it was coking coal for use in iron and steel manufacture, and 39% was "steam" coal used for electric power generation. The European Economic Community, Japan, and Canada received 74.5 million short tons or 70% of these exports in 1982.
Coal exploration and mine permits in most producing regions continued at a high level, and federal coal lease sales increased greatly in the Northern Great Plains Province.
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