"It's going to run out some day — there's a finite amount of coal — but I don't see that happening in 10 or 20 years," Stagg told Pam Kasey of The State Journal, a business-oriented weekly in West Virginia. Stagg, the president and CEO of Stagg Resource Consultants Inc., has been pessimstic about the industry's long-term prospects for several years, as we reported here, but this is his gloomiest forecast yet.
"This is the elephant in the room. No one wants to acknowledge that reserve depletion is profound," Stagg, of Cross Lanes, W.Va., said at Platt's Coal Marketing Days in Pittsburgh on Sept. 21, according to SNL Financial. "Mining conditions are difficult, and the cost to produce is high. That is a physical fact. It's not pleasant. Nobody wants to acknowledge it. That is a fact, and companies that ignore that fact will not do so well. . . . And by nature, regulations will always increase."
An earlier version of this story was based on a report from SNL Financial that Stagg says misquoted him as saying that he expects coal mining in Central Appalachia to end in the next 10 to 20 years. He did not dispute the rest of the report.