Coal industry professionals from across the nation and world are converging on Bluefield today for the start of the 23rd Biennial Bluefield Coal Show. It’s a big deal for the industry and our region in particular.

The show is not open to the general public, but hundreds, if not thousands, of coal and related industry personnel are expected to be on hand during the three-day event, which is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias And those out-of-town visitors are expected to bring a large economic boost to our region this week.

Local hotels and motels will be packed, and restaurants, malls, department stores and convenience stations will benefit from the show. These are new dollars being spent in our community by out-of-town visitors. In fact, the biennial coal show is one of the region’s biggest economic drivers every two years.

The show itself also serves as an economic barometer of the industry, which has been strengthened in recent years thanks to a pro-coal administration in Washington.

More than 190 exhibitors are expected to be on hand today for the show, which will be headlined by keynote speaker James A. Brock, the president of CONSOL Energy. CONSOL announced plans earlier this year to open a new metallurgical coal mine in southern West Virginia in 2021. It is expected to employ between 100- to 150 workers.

For the first time in its long history, this year’s show will have a new general chairman, Bob Ramsey. Ramsey is taking the place of one of the show’s founders and long-time chair, Charlie Peters, who passed away in May 2018. Peters had guided the show from its start in 1976 through 2017.

It’s good to see that the coal show is back — and as strong as ever — in the year 2019.

Today, we join the the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias in welcoming the thousands of industry professionals and supporters to the historic coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. We hope everyone will enjoy their stay in the region.

Let the 2019 coal show begin. And remember to be cordial to all the visitors in the area this week for the three-day coal show.

 

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