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Various types of coal can be found in the West. Significant sources of subbituminous and lignite coals have been found in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Subbituminous, nonlignite coal has been discovered in Colorado and Wyoming. Kansas and Texas are sources for high-sulfur bituminous coal. Low-sulfur bituminous coal is mined in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Other western states have coal deposits, but those are not heavily mined.
Archaeological evidence suggests that there was limited use of coal by Native Americans in the West prior to the arrival of Europeans. Small-scale mining by white settlers in Utah dates to the 1840s, with their counterparts in Colorado soon following suit. Until the 1860s, the mining operations supported their local environs, as there was no efficient and cheap ...