SP-54 2003 Summary of Coal Resources in Colorado


This report is an update of SP-41 published in 1995 and contains information on coal production, coal mining and coal quality, plus updated sections on the geological setting of each of the active coal fields in the state. The purpose is to provide an accurate, up-to-date summary of the coal business in Colorado. SP-54D

From the Introduction:

Due to its great wealth of coal, the United States is considered the world leader for coal production. Colorado has some of the cleanest burning coal in the U.S. In terms of coal quality, Colorado ranks in the top five “compliance coal” producing states in the nation (Keystone Coal Industry Manual, 2003). More than 434 billion short-tons of in-place coal resources are estimated in Colorado to a maximum depth of 6,000 ft. According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) this resource represents 11% of the nation’s coal, and is the fourth largest state coal resource in the country. To a mineable depth of 3,000 ft, Colorado’s remaining identified coal resources are nearly 129 billion tons. In terms of identified bituminous coal resources, Colorado ranks second nationally behind Illinois, but is first in low-sulfur bituminous coal.

Coal is the most available source of energy in Colorado. It underlies nearly 30,000 sq. mi., or 28.4 percent of the state comprising part of the Rocky Mountain Coal Province where the coal occurs in Upper Cretaceous to Eocene age sedimentary formations. Eight named coal-bearing regions and 28 coal fields are located throughout western and central Colorado. Coal is currently produced from the Green River, Uinta, San Juan River, and Raton Mesa regions. In terms of total in-place resources and production of environmentally compliant coal, the Green River and Uinta regions in the northwest corner of the state are the most important.