Rawhide Mine, located in Campbell County, Wyo., 10 miles north of Gillette on Highway 59, was acquired from Exxon Coal and Minerals Company on Nov. 1, 1994. Construction of the mine began in September 1974, with initial production beginning in August 1977. Mining was suspended in April 1999. Production resumed in late 2001, with shipment beginning the first quarter of 2002.
The mine sold 14.7 million tons of compliance coal in 2012 and has a workforce of approximately 210. Remaining recoverable reserves total approximately 312 million tons. Rawhide has a permitted capacity of 24 million tons per year, with quality of about 8,300 Btu and 0.37 percent sulfur.
Rawhide is a cast blast, dozer-push, and truck and shovel operation. Approximately 165 feet of overburden are removed with explosives, dozers, electric shovels and loaders to expose the coal. Overburden haulage is accomplished with end-dump trucks. Coal is also loaded with shovels and front-end loaders from two seams, the Roland and Smith seams, which average 30 and 75 feet in thickness, respectively. The coal is hauled to an in-pit truck dump, where it is sized and then conveyed to a 12,000-ton intermediate silo. From there, coal is conveyed to secondary crushers for final sizing, and through a sample collection point, before being placed in the loadout silos that have a combined capacity of 75,000 tons.
A loop track, able to hold 150-car unit trains, runs through the loadout silos and connects to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Railcars are flood loaded from the bottom of six silos and then topped off with a precision loading system to within 250 pounds of each car’s maximum specified weight. The loadout system scales are tested and certified semiannually. Loading times are well within the normal four-hour limit; typical loading times average two hours per train. Coal sampling is performed at the mine in accordance with ASTM Standards and analyzed by an independent laboratory located in Gillette.
Rawhide Mine received a President’s Award in 2011 as the safest surface mine in the Peabody Energy family.