Why is coal found in Alaska?
Coal mining in Alaska can be traced back to the early 1900s during the gold rush years. Visible coal in the Healy area was an obvious source of fuel for steam boats and the railroad operations between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Where does the coal come from on Alaska beaches?
The coal that washes up on Homer beaches comes from veins in the bluffs that line Cook Inlet and overlook town. Boulder-size sections of coal break off the cliffs, are churned up in the ocean and wash onto area beaches in smaller pieces.
How much coal does Alaska have?
Alaska’s recoverable coal reserves were estimated to be about 2.8 billion tons at the end of 2019, equal to about 1% of the U.S. total.
How many coal mines are in Alaska?
In Alaska, we have six large operating and producing mines, six advanced exploration projects, and two projects in its permitting phase. These major mines are economic engines for regions that have few employment opportunities. More than 200 placer mines produced 41,000 ounces of gold with a value of $52 million.
How many years of coal is left?
Based on U.S. coal production in 2019, of about 0.706 billion short tons, the recoverable coal reserves would last about 357 years, and recoverable reserves at producing mines would last about 20 years.