Energy: The Big Ten Coal Companies

About 1,200 U.S. companies mine coal, but ten of them consistently account for almost half of the nation's production. Four are owned by large metals manufacturers, which are skilled at mining and shipping ores and use much coal in their smelters and blast furnaces. Four others are owned by oil or gas companies. Another, Clinchfield, is owned by Pittston Co., which also has oil interests. Only one of the Big Ten, North American Coal, is independent.

Many oil firms want to become across-the-board energy producers, and they already control some 30% of the nation's...

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