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State's coal industry worries about lower price demands

State's coal industry worries about lower price demands as old contracts are renewed

Apr 11, 2012 - The Associated Press

Wyoming is the nation's top producer of coal, with thousands of workers employed by the industry. Wyoming State Geological Survey

LARAMIE (AP) -- The executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association is concerned about low prices for coal.

Marion Loomis says the price of Wyoming coal has dropped from $14 a ton to $6 a ton in the past six months because of low natural gas prices and less demand from power plants.

Speaking at a forum in Laramie on Tuesday, Loomis says Wyoming coal is still selling for higher prices because of contracts negotiated several years ago.

But as those contracts expire, new contracts will be negotiated, and customers will push for lower prices unless market conditions change.

Loomis said he hopes the prices will turn around soon before many new contracts are negotiated at the lower prices.

Wyoming is the top coal-producing state in the United States. It relies on the coal industry for billions of dollars in taxes, royalties and fees. The industry employs thousands of workers in high-wage jobs.

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