History of the Wyodak Mine
The Wyodak Mine is nestled in the Powder River Basin. Coal deposits within the Powder River Basin were discovered at the end of the 19th century, and these deposits contain the largest source of coal in the United States.
Mining operations at the mine site first began in about 1918 with the establishment of the Peerless Mine, an underground room and pillar operation. Though the operation went out of business in 1925, it left behind underground workings that workers at Wyodak uncovered and mined in the 1950s.
The modern Wyodak Mine was established in 1923 to provide coal for power plants that supplied energy to the Homestake Mine for its gold mining and milling operations. In 1925, Wyodak crews produced just 33,579 tons of coal.
In 1956, Homestake sold the coal mining operation. Geological testing at the time suggested that approximately 21 million tons of coal remained at the site and that an estimated 50 million tons were available on adjacent property. On Nov. 1, 1956, Black Hills Corporation purchased the Wyodak Mine.
Over the years, the Wyodak Mine grew. In 1983, we successfully bid on two coal leases for federal lands adjacent to Wyodak, expanding its already vast coal reserves.
In 1995, we closed the South Pit, ending one chapter in Wyodak’s long history. During the course of 36 years, 55.5 million tons of coal had been mined from this area.
In the fall of 1996, we received a portion of the Clovis Point Mine adjacent to Wyodak. The deal increased our federal and state leased coal reserves from approximately 173 million tons to 330 million tons.