MINExpo International 2004 was a tremendous successful and exciting show, with more than 35,000 attendees. Forecast for the future shows rising demand for coal, copper, nickel and iron. 
    Jack Gerard said "the mining boom for all minerals has been great for the equipment suppliers, whose "order books are full." He said demand is up 5.5 percent for mining and construction equipment. 

"Worldwide demand has struck a relatively quiet market with hurricane-force winds and China is one reason for the boom due to its increasing demand for minerals," said Gerard. 
    Gerard also talked about the shortage of skilled workers in the coal industry. 
    Ernie Fletcher, Governor of KY, and newly elected Chair of Southern States Energy Board, also talked about the shortage of workers in the coal industry.
    As Governor of one of this Nation's largest coal states we know first hand that young people are not entering the mining industry in numbers large enough to keep up with the demands for coal, because mining is viewed as an industry with limited career options. The average age of Kentucky's coal mining work force today is 48, indicating that the industry will need to replace a large majority of its workforce in the near future. This is true not only in KY but in the rest of the southern region as well as the entire Nation.
    Governor Fletcher also talked about Southern States Energy Board being an advocate for new and innovative clean coal technologies that will permit us to use this vast resource far into the future.
    The carbon management initiative, undertaken this year by the Board at the direction of Governor Bob Wise (WV), already has proven successful through the development of SECARB, the $2.8 million Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership. Examining ways to eliminate carbon from our atmosphere by storing it, using it to recover coal bed methane and oil, and disposing of it through geologic and terrestrial means will be of tremendous help as we attempt to mitigate the impact of greenhouse gases in the future." 
    If coal is to play a leading role in meeting the world's energy needs, we must all join together to attract qualified personnel into the coal industry. 


Kevin Crutchfield, Chair
Eastern Coal Council 

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