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Feb 19, 2012 2:34 PM by Matt Stafford

Colorado coal production increases

DENVER (AP) - After seven years of decline, coal production in Colorado increased 10.4 percent in 2011 to nearly 28 million tons as companies tapped into new markets abroad.

The state Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety says employment at Colorado's 10 mines also rose 12 percent to 2,363 in the first nine months of 2011. And, there are plans for four new mines and eight expansions of existing mines.

Stuart Sanderson, president of the Colorado Mining Association, tells The Denver Post that "after some tough years, this is good news." But not everyone is so happy.

Ted Zukoski, an attorney with the environmental law group Earthjustice, questions if it makes sense to use public lands to mine coal for overseas markets like China and Europe.

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