IS-85 Colorado Mineral and Energy Industry Activities 2021-2022
2023-04-13 | Dr. John Hopkins
The current annual Colorado Mineral and Energy Industry Activities report for 2021-22 is now available. Following up on the 2020-21 report, this report is based on 2021 production data with additional reported news from 2022. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of Colorado’s mineral resource production complete with extensive references.
The estimated total value of 2021 mineral and energy fuels production in Colorado is $20.51 billion, a ~70% increase from the 2020 estimate of $12.07 billion mainly due to higher average prices for oil and natural gas. In 2021, the top commodities produced in terms of production value include: oil, natural gas, coal, molybdenum, gold, sand and gravel, cement, industrial gases (carbon dioxide), and crushed rock. Oil and natural gas production accounted for ~88% of Colorado’s total mineral and energy production value in 2021.
The total estimated value of Colorado oil and natural gas production in 2021 is ~$18.05 billion which is ~85% higher than last year’s estimated value of $9.74 billion. Although 2021 oil and gas production decreased in Colorado, oil and natural gas production remains higher than historical values and production values have increased from 2016 due to higher prices and an increase in demand. Colorado has the eighth largest proven oil reserves and the ninth largest proven natural gas reserves in the U.S. The estimated value of coal production across the state in 2021 is $559 million. The overall decreasing trend in coal production over the last several years is due primarily to the increased use of natural gas and renewable energy resources nationwide. In 2021, Colorado is the 11th largest coal producer in the U.S. with both underground and surface mines currently in operation west of the continental divide.
Non-fuel mineral production includes metals, aggregate, limestone, cement, industrial minerals (gypsum, nahcolite), and gases (carbon dioxide, helium). The total estimated value of Colorado’s production of non-fuel minerals in 2021 is $1.61 billion. Colorado is the third largest gold producer in the U.S., behind Nevada and Alaska, based on the total 2021 production from a single mine. Two Colorado mines continue to produce molybdenum and the state was the second largest producer of this metal in 2021 behind Arizona. Although the state has been a producer in the past, there was no uranium mine production in Colorado in 2021, however, several property transfers and exploration activities continued in 2021.