Ohio coal sales were down last year, contributing to a decrease in sales by Ohio’s mineral industries, according to a new report.
The state’s mineral industries produced $1.6 billion worth of coal and other geologic commodities in 2016, down from $1.8 billion in the prior year, said the annual report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Most of the decrease was because of a drop in coal production, which was worth $541.2 million, down 28 percent.
“Several coal operations ceased or curtailed production in 2016 because of less-expensive, competing natural gas and decreased demand,” the report says.
Belmont County, along the West Virginia line, remained the center of Ohio coal production, with 64 percent of the state’s overall output.
As coal production dropped, it was passed by limestone as the state’s largest mineral commodity in terms of sales. Limestone sales were $615.7 million, down 1 percent.
In 2015, coal was the leader at $752.9 million, followed by limestone with $623.8 million.
Meanwhile, production of sand and gravel, sandstone, clay and shale were up in 2016.
In both years, sand and gravel — which are counted together — were a distant third. Sand and gravel sales totaled $249.7 million in 2016, up 10 percent.
The dollar figures do not include proceeds from oil and gas, which would add $4.2 billion.