CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A coal firm in Wyoming has announced plans to shrink thermal coal operations by about 50%, shifting toward metallurgical coal and steel production.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported that Arch Resources Inc. announced Thursday during an investor meeting that its Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines in the Powder River Basin are expected to reduce thermal coal production over the next three years.

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Officials say the mines have produced about 75 million tons of coal last year, but estimate less than 55 million tons this year.

The demand for coal has decreased in recent years with the expansion of affordable natural gas and renewable energy.

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