Coal Mine Generation
Surface coal mining is a type of mining in which we remove the “overburden” — the soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit. This type of mining is the opposite of underground mining, in which the overlying rock is left in place and the mineral is removed through shafts or tunnels.
At the Wyodak Mine, we remove the overburden in a step-by-step process. First scrapers strip away the top soil. Electric shovels then remove the overburden of dirt. These shovels have buckets that hold as much as 35 cubic yards of soil at a time. We then bring in trucks to haul the dirt away from the shovels. These trucks can hold from 200-240 tons of soil in their beds.
After we’ve exposed the coal, we bring in front-end loaders to mine the coal. We then use a conveyor to transport the coal to our nearby power plants.