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.