Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Coal Fields

Coal Fields differ greatly in size. There are about twenty in England and Wales, but half of this number are but small in area. The largest is that of South Wales, with a total area of about 1,000 square miles, about half of which yields anthracitic and the other half bituminous coal. Other important fields are the Northumberland and Durham, the York, Derby, and Nottingham, the Cumberland, the South Lancashire, the North Staffordshire, the South Staffordshire, the Flintshire and Denbighshire, the Forest of Dean, and the Bristol and Somersetshire. The five principal coal-fields in Scotland are those of Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Stirling, Fife, and Midlothian, in addition to which there is the small Jurassic coal-field of Brora, in Sutherlandshire. Of the but little developed coal-fields of Ireland, those of Leinster, Tipperary, and Munster, the most important are anthracitic, that of Tyrone is bituminous. The total output of coal in the United Kingdom during the last ten years has been of the average annual value of £49,000,000 sterling. The Royal Commission in 1870 estimated the available unworked coal in the kingdom within 4,000 feet of the surface at 146,454,000 tons, or more than 1,200 times the amount consumed in 1870. Increasing consumption in manufactures and increasing population have, however, caused some authorities to limit the duration of our supply to 360 or even to 276 years. No estimate was made in 1870 of any coal between the Bristol and Somerset field and that which extends from Valenciennes to Namur and is continuous with the Liege and Westphalian fields. Coal having since been found at Burford, on the borders of Oxfordshire, and at Dover, the south-east of England becomes an area to be considered. Though the coal-fields of the United Kingdom, with a total area of 12,000 square miles, now yield one hundred and fifty-five million tons, or more than half that of all other countries put together, this is only owing to the undeveloped state of the resources of these latter. Thus the United States, with fields estimated at 192,000 square miles, only produce one hundred million tons, whilst China, with 200,000 square miles, more than the whole coal area of Europe, only produces three million. Germany produces eighty million tons, France twenty million, and Belgium and Austria each seventeen million; but Canada, with a coal-bearing area of 65,000 square miles, India with 35,500, New South Wales with 24,000, and Russia with 20,000, produce far less. Valuable coal deposits occur in Borneo and Labuan.