Basin Electric Power Cooperative said Feb. 5 that two new large machines will soon be operating at the Freedom lignite mine, operated by The Coteau Properties Co. near Beulah, N.D.
One 240-ton Kress coal hauler was delivered to the mine on Jan. 7, with another to be delivered in the next month. Kent Neustel, vice president at Coteau Properties, said the new haulers will replace two of the five 300-ton Kress coal haulers currently in operation at the mine. Coteau Properties also has a fleet of three 240-ton Kress coal haulers. Two were put into operation in 2005 and the third unit in 2008. The first 240-ton coal hauler on site has been going through testing, and is planned to be put into production Feb. 8.
Neustel said the new coal haulers are smaller than the previously used 300-ton coal haulers. The 300-ton haulers are no longer being built. He said though the capacity of the new coal haulers is smaller, production shouldn’t decline. The 240-ton coal haulers will be used on the mine’s shorter haul distances. The 300-ton coal haulers being replaced have been in operation at the mine since 1993, and will likely be scrapped for parts for the remaining three 300-ton coal haulers in operation.
Stu Mead, maintenance manager at Coteau Properties, said the new 240-ton coal haulers are heavier duty than older models. “The newer 240-ton coal haulers have a much thicker structural steel. It used to be they’d build the frame lighter, to make the entire load lighter,” he said. “But we found we needed to make modifications on those machines to keep them running. A thicker, stronger frame gives better support.”
The Freedom Mine supplies lignite coal to Basin Electric’s Leland Olds Station, Antelope Valley Station and Dakota Gasification Co.’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant. The Freedom Mine delivers approximately 15 million tons of coal per year, making it the largest lignite mine in the United States based on deliveries.