Weak production report caps 2019 for Powder River Basin coal

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CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Coal mining in the top U.S. coal-producing region was down sharply at the end of 2019 compared to the year before.

Production in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana fell nearly 14% in the last quarter compared to the same period in 2018.

U.S. government data released Monday show that volumes for the three-month period were the lowest in over two decades amid ongoing competition from inexpensive natural gas as utilities' fuel of choice to generate electricity.

The weak quarter capped a tumultuous year of bankruptcies, mine shutdowns and merger proposals among companies operating in the basin.