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Total world coal production decreased by 4.8% in 2020, after three years of growth. 


World total coal production, 1971-2020

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China was the only major producer that increased coal production in 2020, up by 1.1%. The declines that started at the beginning of the century in the United States and the European Union continued, most pronounced in Germany, Poland and Greece. Production growth in Russia, Indonesia, India and Turkey recently peaked and is now negative.

Growth rate of major coal producers, 2016-2020

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Production dropped across all types of primary coal1 except anthracite, which saw a slight increase of 0.2%, pushed by Vietnamese production.

Global production of steam coal2 fell by 4.1%. The only major producer showing a positive year-on-year change was China, up +1.1%. The United States saw 2020’s strongest cut in production with -137 Mt or -26%. Production also fell in other key coal producers such as India, Indonesia and Australia.

The production of coking coal decreased by 3.2% in 2020. Contrary to the others producers, China increased production by 2.8%, up by 15 Mt. On the other side of the Pacific, production in the United States decreased by the same tonnage, -15 Mt, representing a cut of 23%. Production in Australia and the Russian Federation also decreased, by -2.8% and -6.8% respectively.

Lignite was the product whose production decreased the most, down by 13.4% in 2020. The three main producers, Germany, Turkey and Russia cut production by 18.2%, 14.9% and 10.5% respectively.

Steam coal production, 1990-2020

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Lignite production, 1990-2020

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Coking coal production, 1990-2020

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Notes and references
  1. Primary coal includes anthracite, coking coal, lignite, sub-bituminous coal and other bituminous coal.

  2. Steam coal includes anthracite, sub-bituminous coal and other bituminous coal.


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