Most of the U.S. coal industry doubts Donald Trump can fulfill his promise to make the ailing industry great again in a country awash in dirt-cheap natural gas, a competing fuel. But a small sub-section of the coal sector that mines metallurgical coal—a variety used by steel makers instead of power plants—is gearing up for a Trump-inspired boom. That’s because the Republican president-elect has promised a spending surge for roads, bridges, and tunnels after he takes office on Jan. 20, a push to upgrade America’s infrastructure with the support of leading Democrats that could jolt demand for metallurgical coal from American steel mills. Prices for met coal, as it is called, have already risen in recent months on lower supply from China.
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