The present: here and in the world

Coal in the world

On a global scale coal is the second most utilized raw material in terms of energy in the world, right after oil. The overall worldwide yearly consumption is estimated to be approximately 7.5 billion tons. Around three quarters of this quantity is used in power plants – though different sources vary considerably in this respect. Retaining the current level of consumption, the known stock of all coal types would last for some 300 years. In the recent years an increasing trend in coal consumption for energy purposes is marked – for example between 2001 and 2004 consumption grew by 25 percent.

The problem of current utilization of coal in power plants is the low efficiency of its conversion to electricity (around 40 percent is stated with modern units) and the pollution produced. The developed countries therefore are making a substantial effort in development of new methods of conversion of coal to electricity.

The world’s large producers and consumers:



Recently, China has had a considerable impact on the coal situation. It is the biggest exporter of coal in the world and at the same time its biggest consumer.

  • verified stock: 111 billion tonnes
  • probable stock: 4 trililon tonnes
  • annual consumption: approx. 3.8 billion tonnes
  • annual production: approx. 3.5 billion tonnes

Due to its own precipitate develpoment China still limits exports which has led to substantial growth of prices. For this reason too the production of coal is again starting to be interesting in terms of economics.



A similarly precipitate development in this sphere has been going on in India.

  • verified stock: 92 billion tonnes
  • annual consumption: approx 0.7 billion tonnes
  • annual consumption: approx. 0.59 billion tonnes


Russia represents an important world coal producer as well as consumer; it possesses the second largest verified stock (after the USA). It is also a significant exporter.

  • verified stock: 157 billion tonnes
  • annual consumption: approximately 0.22 billion tonnes
  • annual production: approx. 0.36 billion tonnes 



Traditionally, an important player concerning coal is the USA. It possesses the largest verified stock in the world and it is the second biggest producer (after China). Each year approximately one billion tons of coal mostly of domestic origin is consumed there. The production of electricity in the country is 45 percent from coal, according to other sources this share amounts up to 90 percent.

  • verified stock: 245 billion tonnes
  • annual consumption: approx. 0.82 billion tonnes
  • annual production: approx. 0.93 billion tonnes

The USA is also a traditional exporter, however the volume of export has been decreasing in the long term.