Gov. Quinn announces Illinois coal exports set record in 2012, fuel
forecasts more gains for Illinois coal as global demand rises
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[May 03, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn
released a report this week that forecasts continued major export
growth for the Illinois coal industry due to the state's large
volumes of coal, competitive prices, and access to prime water and
land transportation routes. The state's coal output rose last year
against the tide of shrinking U.S. production, as global demand for
Illinois coal soared. The new report and its recommendations support
Quinn's five-year-plan to double exports by 2014 and to continue
providing an export-friendly business climate in Illinois.
"Illinois coal is in high demand overseas, and we have the resources
and infrastructure to take advantage of this opportunity for
economic growth," Quinn said. "Our rail lines and river ports, which
we continue to improve under the Illinois Jobs Now! capital
construction program, give us a unique export advantage over other
states in the region."
Illinois exported a record 13 million tons of coal in 2012, a
fivefold increase from 2.5 million tons in 2010, according to
"Realizing Illinois' Coal Export Potential," a report by Energy
Ventures Analysis Inc. for the Illinois Office of Coal Development.
The report was released at a meeting of coal industry leaders
Wednesday at St. Louis Downtown-Parks Airport near the Mississippi
Thanks in part to the rivers and railroads that allow Illinois
coal to cost-effectively reach export markets, Illinois' coal
production is on the rise while U.S. coal production is falling,
according to the Energy Ventures report. Total Illinois coal output
rose 25 percent to 47.2 million tons in 2012, up from 37.8 million
tons in 2011. Coal production nationwide fell 11 percent. Since
2010, when the revival of Illinois' coal industry began, total
Illinois coal output has risen 42 percent.
"Illinois coal has made significant inroads into the global
market in the last two years and, in doing so, has contributed to
the increase in exports of U.S. goods," said Adam Pollet, acting
director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic
Opportunity, which houses the state's coal development office. "We
are working hard to raise the awareness around the world of Illinois
coal and to help small producers in Illinois access overseas markets
in Europe, Asia and South America."
Illinois coal was shipped to at least 18 countries in 2011 and
2012, according to the report. Illinois is now the fifth-largest
coal-producing state in the U.S., up from ninth in 2009. The
industry supports more than 4,000 jobs in Illinois.
The international steam coal market -- where coal is used to
produce electricity and heat large boilers and industrial furnaces
-- is booming. Illinois has the largest reserves of bituminous steam
coal in the U.S.
Another Illinois advantage is the state's easy access by rail or
barge to the Gulf of Mexico, where coal is loaded onto oceangoing
vessels for overseas sale. To demonstrate the positive direction of
coal exports, the meeting on Wednesday included a tour of American
Milling Co.'s new $13.6 million coal terminal facilities at the
nearby Port of Cahokia, which will be able to transfer up to 10
million tons of coal from rail to barges for export through New
Orleans. The state invested $1 million in the project through its
coal development efforts.
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"Illinois coal exports have increased as a result of the overall
growth in the global steam coal market, the marketing efforts of the
major Illinois coal producers and traders, the relative
competitiveness of Illinois exports on the global market, and the
increased market acceptance of Illinois quality coal," said Emily
Medine, a principal at Energy Ventures Analysis and author of the
The report recommends that Illinois
can help promote continued growth in exports through three types of
improving Illinois' competitiveness from the mine to the
customer. The report notes the importance of maintaining
navigation on the Mississippi River and increasing the draft in
the Gulf of Mexico to allow for the loading of larger classes of
vessels referred to as "cape-sized." The ability to load the
larger vessels benefits the Illinois coal industry and many
other industries in the state.
technical assistance to the smaller producers of Illinois coal.
This group, in general, does not have an international sales
force or experience doing business overseas.
Expanding the global awareness of
Illinois coal. This includes educating Illinois trade
representatives about Illinois coal, supporting trade missions
to the markets that represent the best prospects for Illinois
coal and potentially encouraging foreign investment in Illinois
The Office of Coal Development, a division of the Illinois
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is working with
industry representatives on implementing several of the
recommendations from the report. To view a copy of the report, visit
[Text from file received from the