For shortwall mining to be profitable, the additional capital investment of about $1 million for shortwall roof supports must be offset by decreased total operating costs and/or increased coal production. The Bureau of Mines therefore conducted a demonstration project to compare shortwall and room-and-pillar mining. Daily two- shift production from the Bureau of Mines--Beth-Elkhorn Corp. shortwall demonstration project averaged 975 tons of raw coal, compared with 905 tons from a room-and-pillar unit operating under similar conditions. The estimated direct operating costs for the shortwall and room-and-pillar units were $4.21 and $4.03 Per ton, respectively. The profitability of the shortwall system was found to depend not only on the increased depreciation cost of the powered roof supports and the decreased cost of supplies and materials, but also on such factors as the fixed and variable indirect costs and the selling price of the coal. Shortwall mining was demonstrated to be a viable alternative to room-and-pillar mining.