Black Thunder


Arch Coal Inc.

Mine Contact

Paul Lang (307) 939-1300


Southern Powder River Basin (12 miles southeast of Wright, Wyoming in Campbell County).

Rail Loading Point

Thunder Junction, Wyoming

Background on Mine

Black Thunder is one of the largest coal mine in the United States and is situated in one of the country's richest coal regions. Coal production was more than 67 million tons in 2001. The coal seam averages 69 feet in thickness. Total remaining reserves are approximately one billion tons. First shipment was in December 1977.

Mine Type


Recoverable Reserves

750 million tons

Annual Production (Projected 2002)

67 million tons

Current Annual Production Capacity

70 million tons

Rail Loading Point Storage Capacity

126,000 tons

Loadout Description and/or Configuration

Two high-speed unit train loadouts. Two silos and slot storage.

Weighing System

Three state-of-the-art batch loadout systems.

System Used to Assure Maximum Loading Per Car

Ramsey Weigh Bin System. Premeasured batch quantities sized to car capacity.

Loading Rate per Hour

12,000 tons (6000 tons per loop).

Storage Recharge Rate

12,000 tons per hour.

Load Track Configuration and Capacity

Two loop tracks, two loadouts; can hold four unit trains on track.

Loading Mode

Batch loadouts

Maximum Cars Per Train

135 cars

Washing Capability


Coal Specifications

Sub-bituminous coal 8,800 Btu/lb., 0.32% Sulphur

composition analysis (%) 
Moisture 27.0
Ash 5.5
Volatile Matter 29-35
Fixed Carbon 31.5-37.5
Fusion Temperature of ash (°F) 
Initial Deformation 2,100-2,170
Fluid 2,100-2,310