Why Lignite?

Facts & Figures

Virtual Tour

Mines & Power Plants


Research & Development



About Us

Contact Us

Members Only


Other Facts & Figures

What Lignite Is

Why Region Has Lignite

Lignite Production

Uses of Lignite

"Lignite" Counties

One of ND's Largest Industries

Impact on ND's Economy

Lewis & Clark - Ties to Industry



Our Region's Lignite History

1804 First recorded use: Lewis & Clark expedition fueled a blacksmith forge
1873 First commercial mine opens in Morton County
1900 A total of 73 underground mines operating
1919 First surface mine opens; Otter Tail Power builds Harvey power plant
1928 Otter Tail Power constructs Washburn power plant
1941 Number of mines declines from a high of 320 in 1940 to 296 in 1941 (more than half of remaining mines are surface mines)
1951 Lignite production reaches 3.2 million tons before declining to 2.3 million tons in 1958
1954 MDU opens R.M. Heskett power plant at Mandan; second unit added in 1963
1954 William J. Neal Station begins operating at Velva (acquired by Basin Electric in 1973 - plant currently inactive)
1966 Basin Electric opens first major lignite-fired generating plant (Leland Olds Station) at Stanton
1967 United Power Association finishes construction on the lignite-fired Stanton Station in Stanton
1970 Minnkota Power Cooperative completes first unit of Milton Young Station at Center
1975 Leland Olds Unit 2 in service at Stanton
1977 Young Station Unit 2 in service at Center
1979 Coal Creek Station Unit 1 in service at Underwood
1981 Coyote Station in service at Beulah; Coal Creek Station Unit 2 in service at Underwood
1984 Antelope Valley Station Unit 1 & Great Plains Synfuels Plant in operation at Beulah
1986 Antelope Valley Station Unit 2 in service at Beulah
1994 Lignite production reaches all-time high of 32.2 million tons

1016 E. Owens Avenue, PO Box 2277, Bismarck, ND 58502 i (701) 258-7117 or 1-800-932-7117 i Fax: (701) 258-2755