Give an account of the major coal mining regions around the world.
Major coal mining reasons are as follows:
China has large reserves of coal and during the last decades it has emerged as the world leader in coal mining. The deposits of Fushun mines in Manchuria have the maximum thickness of beds of bituminous coal in the world. Chinese coal is widely distributed in the country and is mainly of anthracite type.
US and Canada
In US coal is mined in seven major regions including the Appalachian Mountains, Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast. A larger share of the coal mined here comes from the eastern half of the country. The Appalachian province extending from Pennsylvania to Alabama is the most important region. This region accounts for nearly half of the total production. The Rocky Mountains Fields comprising the coal producing areas of Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado is the second major producer accounting for about 25 per cent of the total production. The coal from the western region has lower sulphur content. More than half of the coal produced in US comes from surface mines.
Canada also has large reserves of coal, mainly of lignite type in the Prairie Province. Some bituminous coal is also found in Canada.
Europe, excluding Russian Federation, produces around 40% of the world coal output. In UK the important coalfields include Scottish Lowlands, Cumberland, Yorkshire, Lancashire and South Wales. Production in UK has however declined. In continental Europe Ruhr coalfield in Germany is the most important. The Upper Silesian coalfield, next to Ruhr, in Poland has the largest deposit of high-grade coal in Europe. The other important coalfields in Europe are Saxony (Germany), Valenciennes (France) and Namur Basin (Belgium).
In Russian Federation
The deposits of bituminous coal are most widespread, and their anthracite reserves are also the largest in the world. The Donetz Basin or Donbas in southeastern Ukraine used to be the most important coal producing area of the former Soviet Union. Important coalfields of Russia include the Kuznetsk or Kuzbass area in western Siberia, Ural and Tula coalfields, Pechora Basin in northwestern Siberia, Tunguske Basin and Lena Basin in cental Siberia, Irkusk region near Lake Baykal and Chukot basin in extreme northeast.
India is also an important coal producing country in Asia. Indian coalfields fall under two categories, the Gondwana system extending over West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and M.P. and the Tertiary beds in Assam and Rajasthan. Mining is more important in the Gondwana Basins in West Bengal (Raniganj) and Jharkhand (Jharia). The other important areas include Bokato, Giridih, Karanpura and Singareni fields. Lignite deposits of Tamil Nadu are also very large.
Japan is the leading importer of coal in the world. Over one-third of the total coal imports flow to Western Europe. France and Italy are the leading importing European countries. Countries like Denmark and Netherlands meet practically 100 per cent of their coal requirements through import.