The connection from the main line to the mine in Hardin, Big Horn County, will allow tonnage to be transported west.
Westbound coal also broadens the market opportunity horizon for Absaloka’s coal, which is leased by the Crow Tribe following a deal signed in April and given final approval last month.
Additional outlets for the coal could lead to both increased royalties for the Crow Tribe and a rise in mine employment.
“Westmoreland’s investment in the expansion of the rail line has already resulted in several new accounts including a test burn and spot sales to a new utility plant customer,” president and chief executive officer Robert King said.
“The … line opens up Westmoreland’s sales opportunities to the west, allowing us to capitalize on our geographically-advantaged position in the North Powder River Basin.”