Coal is the most abundant of fossil fuels. It is available from a wide variety of mines distributed globally. It is used for electricity generation, but also in steel and aluminium production as well as in cement manufacture and as a liquid fuel.

Global consumption of coal is growing and is expected to increase even more as developing countries expand their energy needs. The introduction of various carbon management schemes, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS), is vital to mitigate the impact of future coal use on the environment.

The data on this website is based on proved recoverable reserves of coal, rather than global resources. Proved recoverable reserves are resources remaining in known coal deposits that have been shown to be accessible under current local economic and technological conditions.

There are four main categories of coal referred to in resource surveys:

Lignite, or ‘brown coal’. This is the youngest form of coal and is used almost exclusively for electric power generation.

Sub-bituminous coal. This coal, which has spent more time underground than lignite before being recovered, is mainly used for power generation.

Bituminous coal. Older than sub-bituminous coal, this coal can be used in heat and power manufacturing applications as a coking coal, mainly for steel and aluminium production.

Anthracite (often included within bituminous coal). The oldest form of coal is used mainly for residential and space heating, and is perhaps the most familiar form of coal, the shiny black rock.

All data represented in the graphs and charts on this website represents totals of the various categories above.

Global Coal recoverable reserves

  Loading graph...

Coal recoverable reserves by region

  Loading graph...

Top coal producing countries

  Loading graph...

Coal recoverable reserves by region

  Loading graph...