Black Thunder smarter, cheaper

ARCH Coal’s Black Thunder mine has witnessed a 10% efficiency improvement and eliminated the need to acquire three 300-ton trucks for its fleet thanks to a new dispatching technology.
Black Thunder smarter, cheaper Black Thunder smarter, cheaper Black Thunder smarter, cheaper Black Thunder smarter, cheaper Black Thunder smarter, cheaper

Black Thunder operates five coal loading shovels and a mixed fleet of 21 trucks. The MineStar FleetCommander module has boosted productivity.

Angie Tomlinson

Arch Coal recently installed MineStar, a central dispatching system that relies on a global positioning system (GPS) to track and monitor the location of major mining equipment at its largest mining operation, Black Thunder in Wyoming.

Using an IP-based network, the computer dispatcher optimises equipment utilisation by rerouting trucks before bottlenecks occur.

The result was an expense savings of about $US3.6 million annually, as well as the deferral of $US9 million in capital spending.

The Black Thunder mine is the second largest US mine with an output of over 72 million tons per annum.

St. Louis-based Arch is the nation's second largest coal producer and mines low-sulfur coal exclusively. Through its subsidiary operations in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Arch provides the fuel for approximately 7% of the electricity generated in the US.

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