Monthly Archives: April 2014

 Post By: Q2 News

ROUNDUP - It's called "black gold." Montana coal.

In the nearby Bull Mountains, they've been mining coal for more than 100 years, but they have never mined it like this before.

"In the dispatch center, we can track all the coal miners in the mine, at individual points where they're at," explains Mine Manager Dale Musgrave.

Using Signal Peak's wireless tracking system, Musgrave can keep tabs not only on the location of each individual miner, he can also monitor every aspect of the mine's operation. He can even tap into the system from his home, using his smart phone.

"We can watch the longwall operating...everything from its location, to how many amps it's running to how many feet per minute it's running," said Musgrave. "It allows our electricians and engineers to make any tweaks necessary, right from their computers."

Signal Peak's new longwall mine opened in 2009, and in just 5 years, it's already among the nation's top producers.

Today, 330 employees work at Signal Peak, taking home an average annual salary of $86,000 a year.

The mine operates 24/7 every day of the year, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

At any given time, between 45 to 60 workers are underground.

The Signal Peak Mine sits atop a 17-foot thick seam of coal, known as the Mammoth Seam.

It contains some of the world's cleanest, low sulfur, high-BTU coal.

The mine's train loading facility can fill an entire 120 car coal train in just 2hours and 20 minutes.

Adding to Signal Peak's uniqueness, is that all of its coal is sold to a single buyer.

First Energy, based in Akron, Ohio, the nation's 4th largest power generator and has a long term deal with Signal Peak to purchase all of its coal.

SIgnal Peak President and CEO Brad Hanson says the mine is in a very enviable position.

"We have a great team here, with great ownership. We have one of the better reserves in the country, with great access to the the railroad and great access to the ports," said Hanson. "It's a great story."

The life of the Signal Peak mine extends well into the middle of this century.

In fact, Signal Peak's future mining plans are mapped out through the year 2049.

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 Post By: MTN News

ROUNDUP - Not many people believed Montana Governor Judy Martz back in 2001, when she traveled to Roundup to announce a new era in local coal mining.

Her vision of a new state-of-the-art coal mine, railroad, and power plant had plenty of skeptics - after all, they had heard it before.

Fast forward now to 2014, and there's no question a new era in Roundup coal mining has arrived.

The new Signal Peak Mine - located 17 miles south of Roundup in Montana's Bull Mountains - is state-of-the art, and $500 million has been invested since 2009.

A new management team came on board in mid-2010, and ever since, this Montana mine has been turning heads industry-wide.

Unlike any other mine in Montana, Signal Peak is what's called a longwall mine. It utilizes an amazing piece of underground machinery, known as a longwall, which endlessly churns away at the coal seam.

Signal Peak CEO & President Brad Hanson is a fourth generation coal miner.

Twice, Signal Peak officials tried to lure him away from his native Colorado. The second time, he agreed, and brought with him more than 20 of his top assistants.

Today, Signal Peak's mine near Roundup is considered one of the most productive in the country and the world.

Signal Peak produced 12.1 million tons of raw coal in 2013 and once all the rocks and dirt are filtered out, that figure shrinks to 8.7 million tons per year.

That final clean product is then loaded into rail cars and sent down a spur line 29 miles to Broadview, eventually onto BNSF's main line, headed for destinations on both the east and west coasts.

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