North Antelope Rochelle Mine
The North Antelope Rochelle Mine is America’s largest and most productive coal mine, offering some of the lowest sulfur coal in America. The mine shipped 107.7 million tons of compliance coal during 2012, and more than 1.8 billion tons since the mine began. Remaining coal reserves dedicated to the mine cover nearly 28,000 acres with about 2.4 billion tons of recoverable coal. The mine is located 65 miles south of Gillette, Wyo. The coal seam mined is the Wyodak-Anderson, which ranges from 60- to 80-feet thick and lies from 100 to 400 feet below the surface in the reserve area.
The North Antelope Mine began operation in late 1983, with the Rochelle Mine beginning production in late 1985. The two mines were combined in 1999, becoming the largest coal mining operation in the United States. The complex currently has a workforce of approximately 1,300 people, and annually injects approximately $128 million into the regional economy in wages and benefits. The complex uses three draglines and five truck-and-shovel fleets for overburden removal and operates on two 12-hour shifts per day, 365 days per year.
The coal is mined from three pits and is hauled by truck to one of four hoppers at the complex, where it is crushed, conveyed to silos, and then to the loadouts. Coal quality averages approximately 8,800 Btu/lb. and 0.20 percent sulfur, making North Antelope Rochelle coal the cleanest in the United States.
Two concentric loop tracks connect with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads’ joint trackage. The loading facilities consist of two 10,000 ton-per-hour loadouts, one on each loop. The loop tracks are capable of handling 150 cars per unit train. Coal from the complex is currently delivered to more than 40 electricity generating customers operating more than 80 power plants throughout the United States.
North Antelope Rochelle’s industry-leading safety and reclamation practices have been recognized with numerous awards over the past several years, including an Excellence in Surface Mining Award from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality in 2011 and an Excellence in Surface Coal mining and reclamation honor from the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2012.