Coal companies have been beaten down ever since natural gas became more competitive. Utilities began switching over at alarming rates, and the coal companies that couldn't curtail production or buoy their income statements with exports simply didn't stand a chance. However, now that the price of natural gas has been steadily rising for a little over a month, some relief may be in sight for the low-cost producers in the Powder River and Illinois basins.

For more details, see the following video.