Technology sparks Midwest coal comeback

Coal production in the US Illinois Basin rose 10% in 2012 – on track to overtake Central Appalachia in output over the next few years, Bloomberg reported Sunday.

Until recently, many mining companies shied away from Midwest coal because of its high sulfur content, even though the region "boasts easily accessible deposits of coal that tend to be thicker than the more depleted eastern coal fields."

Relatively new devices called "scrubbers" allow companies to capitalize on the accessible Mideast deposits by removing much of the sulfur, which makes it easier to meet emissions standards.

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Sources: GLG Research; Bloomberg Businessweek