(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. mining industry had its first profitable quarter in two years in the first quarter of this year, according to data published last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In the first three months of 2017, U.S. mining corporations with assets of $50 million or more had combined after-tax profits of $1.957 billion, according to the Census Bureau, which has posted quarterly U.S. mining industry after-tax profits and losses going back to the fourth quarter of 2000.
The after-tax profit that the U.S. mining industry earned in the first quarter of this year was a dramatic reversal from the first quarter of last year, when mining corporations with assets of $50 million or more posted losses of $27.075 billion.
Prior to the first quarter of this year, the last quarter in which the U.S. mining industry earned a profit was in the third quarter of 2014, when the mining industry had $10.258 billion in profits.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, the mining industry lost $17.057 billion, according to the Census Bureau. A year later, in the fourth quarter of 2015, U.S. mining industry losses hit a record $84.023 billion. The industry remained in the red through all of last year, posting quarterly losses of $27.075 billion, $26.153 billion, $8.221 billion and $10.040 billion.
In the 16 years that the Census Bureau has reported mining industry after-tax profits and losses, the most profitable quarter the U.S. mining industry ever had was the third quarter of 2008, when the industry profited $31.376 billion.
Immediately after those record profits--in the fourth quarter of 2008—the mining industry lost $27.031 billion.