What is metallurgical coal?
Metallurgical coal is a critical component in the steel production process. Steel is one of the most widely used building materials globally, and is used primarily in construction, transport and household appliances.
Metallurgical coal is further grouped in to four categories: hard coking coal (HCC), pulverized coal for injection (PCI), High Vol A (HVA) and High Vol B (HVB) coals. These categories apply to the different quality grades of metallurgical coal, which are priced daily by Platts Daily Metallurgical Coal Assessments. Various specifications affect the price of each type of coal, including volatility, strength, fluidity, swell and ash content. Metallurgical coal is a form of hard bituminous coal, which is distinct from softer bituminous and non-bituminous forms of coal that are used to generate electricity (i.e. thermal coal). Pricing for metallurgical coal has historically been significantly higher than for that of thermal coal.
High quality metallurgical coal is a scarce commodity with large scale mineable deposits limited to geographic regions in the Eastern United States, Western Canada, Eastern Australia, Russia, China, Mozambique and Mongolia. Most metallurgical coal in the United States is produced in the Appalachian basin in the States of Alabama, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia.