Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition Page: 59
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As the final choice of a space-heating fuel
frequently involves factors other than eco-
nomic, forecasting is extremely difficult. Indi-
cations are that demand for the larger hand-
fired sizes will continue to decline in American
markets with a brighter outlook for the smaller
sizes. The future of the large sizes does not
appear bright in the export trade. As recently
as 1957 approximately 800,000 tons of Pea and
larger sizes moved to oversea countries and 1.3
million tons to Canada. Oversea shipments of
the large sizes were estimated at less than 100,-
000 tons in 1958--with little prospect of im-
mediate improvement. In 1958 Canada im-
ported 1.5 million tons less than the 1953
volume. As Canada is primarily a space-
heating market, sales of the larger sizes have
been particularly hard hit, with Chestnut and
Stove bearing the brunt of the losses. Com-
pletion in November 1958 of the trans-Can-
ada natural-gas pipeline to Montreal and con-
tinued pressure from fuel oil will probably
further depress Canadian demand for the
larger sizes of Pennsylvania anthracite.
The outlook for the small sizes of anthra-
cite appears much brighter. Encouraging sales
of automatic anthracite-burning equipment
during the past few years and decreased losses
to competitive fuels (particularly fuel oil) in-
dicate that future declines in the demand for
the small-sized stoker coals may occur at a far
lower rate. In fact, if automatic equipment
can be further improved, demand for the
smaller sizes may actually increase over the
long run, especially in the commercial field
(apartments, hospitals, schools, etc.).
Consumption by public utilities is expected
to range between 2.5-3.5 million tons annually
for many years. The tonnage used by iron
and steel industries is expected to show a
steady rate of increase as more domestic and
foreign ores are sintered or pelletized before re-
duction, and other ferrous and non-ferrous uses
The announced tentative plans for construc-
tion of a large commercial plant to produce
synthesis gas and chemicals indicates the entry
of anthracite as a raw material into a new area
of consumption. Other possible new uses for
anthracite which have been or will be explored
by the Bureau include: Production of high-
B.t.u. gas; the substitution of coke by calcined
anthracite, or anthracite briquets, in blast fur-
naces and cupolas; the production of chemicals
by treating anthracite with selected reactants;
and the use of anthracite in fuel cells.
World reserves of anthracite are adequate to
meet any foreseeable demand. Reserves of
Pennsylvania anthracite are adequate to meet
requirements for several hundred years at pres-
ent production rates.
The anthracite industry is faced with many
major problems of which a principal one is
the high mining cost. Difficulties in mining
pitching and thick beds of hard coal and in
maintaining effective control of roof are im-
portant contributing factors to mining costs.
The development and adaptation of mechanical
mining equipment to these conditions has
lagged so that output per man-shift has not
increased appreciably. Consequently, labor
costs have remained a large proportion of min-
ing costs. Expenses of stripping anthracite are
increasing as shallow coal becomes less avail-
able. Strip operators are forced to use larger
equipment so as to work at greater depths.
Mine-water control and pumping costs are
high and have become excessive in some areas.
With the decline in production activity, the
shutting down and resultant flooding of mines
has aggravated the mine-water problem in the
remaining adjacent active mines.
An increased percentage recovery of coal by
underground mining has been hindered by the
need to maintain large barrier pillars between
mines as a protection against mine water. Like-
wise, much coal must be left in pillars to pre-
vent subsidence of valuable surface lands or to
prevent caving under major streams and their
Concentrated mining of successive beds of
anthracite over a long period of time has re-
sulted in a continuing serious problem of sur-
face subsidence in the built-up areas of the
producing region. Mine squeezes or the shift-
ing adjustments of major blocks of rock strata
are a part of the subsidence problem.
Mine fires in the producing region are a trou-
blesome problem. The ones along coal out-
crops and in abandoned strip mines are started
largely by burning trash dumps and accidental
surface fires. Fires along the outcrops are not
only a mining problem but also a hazard to
public health. Culm-bank fires are of concern
because of their possible effects on public
Preparation practices present problems in
that losses may be considered excessive, and
better separations of coal and refuse must be
made at lower cost if anthracite is to compete
successfully with other fuels. Likewise, qual-
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United States. Bureau of Mines. Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition, report, 1960; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38790/m1/67/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.