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FACT CHECK: Is President Trump Correct That Coal Mines Are Opening?

Rob Bottegal, conduct operative of a Acosta Deep Mine for Corsa Coal Corp., overlooks a cave in Jennerstown, Pa., on Feb. 28.

Dan Speicher/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review around AP


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Dan Speicher/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review around AP

Rob Bottegal, conduct operative of a Acosta Deep Mine for Corsa Coal Corp., overlooks a cave in Jennerstown, Pa., on Feb. 28.

Dan Speicher/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review around AP

As he announced his preference to repel from a Paris meridian agreement, President Trump pronounced he was putting American jobs forward of a needs and desires of other countries.

“I was inaugurated to paint a adults of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he pronounced Thursday.

Trump pronounced a agreement was “very unfair” for a U.S., generally a U.S. spark industry. And he alluded to some new good news for a smashed industry: a growth of new mines.

The Claim

“The mines are starting to open up, carrying a vast opening in dual weeks. Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places. A vast opening of a mint mine. It’s unheard of. For many, many years that hasn’t happened. They asked me if I’d go. I’m going to try.”

Short Answer

Yes, mines are commencement to open up, including a new one in Pennsylvania. But that doesn’t retreat a altogether decrease of a spark mining attention from a excellence days.

Long Answer

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The spark mines that are opening adult furnish a special kind of spark used in steelmaking and are opening mostly given of events separate to sovereign policy, experts say. The marketplace for a kind of spark used in electricity — a biggest use for spark — stays down relations to where it was several years ago.

In other words, a attention has rebounded somewhat after years of layoffs and closures caused especially by foe from inexpensive healthy gas. And a handful of new mines in Wyoming, Alabama, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are possibly opening or slated to open in a subsequent few years.

The spark cave Trump referred to is a Acosta Deep Mine in Jennerstown, Pa., about an hour easterly of Pittsburgh. It is scheduled to have an opening rite subsequent week, though there’s no word nonetheless on either a boss will be there for a ribbon-cutting.

“We’re staffing up,” George Dethlefsen, CEO of Corsa Coal Corp., that owns a mine, told Bloomberg in February. The cave skeleton to occupy about 70 people.

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Betty Rhoads, a owners of a circuitously Coal Miner’s Cafe, in Jennerstown, says she has seen an uptick in business from miners during a cave given final year. “You’ll see a organisation of 12 or 20 of them come in and have a vast breakfast after their change is over,” she says. “It helps a prepare get paid. It helps a waitress get paid. It helps us compensate a electric bills.”

The mine, as are many of a others slated to open, will furnish metallurgical coal, a special form of spark that is used in steelmaking. This is opposite from “steam” coal, that is used to beget electricity. “Met” spark creates adult about 15 percent of worldwide spark production, according to a International Energy Agency.

The Acosta Deep Mine is one of a handful of metallurgical spark mines opening adult around a nation to take advantage of unequivocally high prices for metallurgical coal, says Art Sullivan, a mining consultant and former spark miner in Washington, Pa.

He says a uptick in met spark is associated to events oversees that have small to do with U.S. process or politics.

One of these factors is that Australia, a distant and divided personality in metallurgical coal, has gifted disruptions to a supply chain. There have been problems with rail ride of coal, and Cyclone Debbie serve harm a spark attention there, Sullivan says. Those disruptions, total with greater-than-expected direct for steel in China — a world’s heading steelmaker — caused prices of this special spark to soar to $300 per ton, triple a cost of met spark from 3 years ago.

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“With a disruptions in Australia and stability high turn of direct in China, there has been this torrent in a U.S. with a planning, growth and prolongation from metallurgical spark mines,” Sullivan says.

James Stevenson, executive of a spark group during IHS Markit, says a metallurgical spark bang has helped a spark attention rebound. The rest of a spark attention has also benefited from aloft healthy gas prices.

“I consider that a broad-brush evil is that things have unequivocally softened from a bottom,” Stevenson says. “We unequivocally saw a bottom of a U.S. spark marketplace in early 2016.”

Since then, a attention has picked adult a bit. Several vast spark companies have begun to emerge from bankruptcy, buoying a industry.

Still, notwithstanding this uptick, a attention isn’t going behind to a excellence days of a few years ago, regardless of Trump’s pro-coal policies, Stevenson says. He expects healthy gas prices to tumble and a necessity of met spark to ease. “The instruction is downward,” Stevenson says.

“There’s not a whole lot a supervision can do to change economics, so we don’t unequivocally design a whole lot of change to a spark direct opinion from what any administration unequivocally can do,” he says. “Most analysts would determine [Trump’s pro-coal policies] are substantially a box of negligence a decrease [rather than generating] any genuine upside.”

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Coal prolongation reached a 30-year low in 2015, and a series of U.S. spark miners fell from 90,000 in 2012 to 50,000 in 2016, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics. The series of U.S. spark mines forsaken from 1,831 in 2006 to 1,159 in 2015, according to a Energy Information Administration.

Overall, spark attention analysts contend this miscarry will collect a attention up, though not to a levels seen during a tallness around 2011. Blame fracking.

“Natural gas is a vast reason because spark use for electric energy has declined,” says Jay Apt, a highbrow of engineering and open process during Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. Apt says healthy gas from a fracking bang has transposed spark on a electric grid; healthy gas recently overtook spark as a largest source of electricity in a country.

A new Columbia University investigate found that regulations accounted for 3.5 percent of coal’s decline, while foe from healthy gas accounted for around 49 percent.

Trump’s pro-coal policies positively won’t harm a industry, though a extended trends pulling a attention down are expected to continue, experts say. It’s elementary economics.

Reid Frazier is a contributor for The Allegheny Front, a open radio module formed in Pittsburgh that covers a environment. You can follow him @reidfrazier.