Falkirk Mine

Falkirk Mine Sign

Facts About the Falkirk Mine

Coal Field – The size of the Coal Field is 75,000 acres and 56,000 acres in leases.

Coal Reserves – Lignite coal reserves are 651 million tons, enough for 100 years of operation.

Coal Mined – Each year there are about 300 to 400 acres per year mined. Seven million tons of lignite coal is delivered to Coal Creek Station annually.

Coal Seams – There are two horizontal coal seams, each seam is 10 to 13 feet thick. The lignite seams that Falkirk is mining were laid down during the Paleocene time, about 55 million years ago, just after the age of the dinosaurs.

Coal Quality – Lignite coal quality is 6200 BTUs/pound, 37% moisture, 10% ash, 7% sulfur.

Construction – Construction of the Mine began in 1975. The first delivery of coal to Coal Creek Station was on October 27, 1978.

Conveyor Belt – The cable belt is 3.9 miles long, 45 inches wide, travels 885 feet per minute, thats 10 mph, carries 1800 tons per hour, and cost $10.4 million .

Dozers – The D-11 Dozer is 770 horsepower, used for leveling piles of overburden and ripping coal up to seven feet in depth. They stand 15 feet tall, 12 feet wide and 37 feet long. Cost is $1.1 million each.

Loaders – Front-end Loaders are 700 horsepower with 15 tons per scoop, $2.5 million.

Overburden – Soil over the coal seams ranges from 25 to 150 feet thick (85 feet average) and is removed by the large Draglines.

Owner – North American Coal Corporation is the owner of the Falkirk Mine. Great River Energy has a 35 year Coal Sales Agreement with Falkirk.

Reclamation – 300 to 400 acres per year are reclaimed to production cropland. Cost to reclaim the land is about $15,000 per acre. Even a golf course has been built on the reclaimed land.

Scrapers – The Scrapers are 950 horsepower, hold 44 cubic yards of topsoil with a 16 inch cutting depth, $930,000 each.

Shovels – Loading shovels are 1,900 HP and load 15 to 20 tons per scoop.

Trucks – Kress trucks are 1,200 horsepower and weigh 120,000 pounds empty. They can carry 160 tons of coal. They measure 60 feet long, 17 feet wide, 15 feet high and have speeds of 45 to 53 mph. The tires are 48 ply, 8-1/2 feet tall. It only takes seven seconds to unload. Each truck is equipped with a digital scale, keeping track of every load, each truck costs $1.1 million dollars.

Ariel view of Coal Creek


There are TWO Marion 8750 electric powered walking Draglines, the AChief Ironsides@ and the APrairie Rose@ remove overburden from the top of the coal seams. The draglines specifications are:

Base – The base is 80 feet in diameter and covers the area of a baseball infield.

Boom – The Dragline boom height is 215 feet from the tip of the boom to the ground and the boom is 360 feet long. The Dragline dump height-130 feet, reach depth is 180 feet.

Bucket – The bucket weighs 244,000 pounds empty and holds 125 cubic yards or 160 tons of material. The bucket is 20′ X 16′ X 10′

Cost – The cost of the Draglines in late 1970’s dollars was $38.5 million and $41.9 million.

Construction – The Draglines were built onsite over an 18 month period.

Energy – Each Dragline uses 10 megawatts ( 10,000 kilowatts ) of electricity at 25,000 volts equal to a city with a population of 1775 people.

Motors – The power to run a Dragline comes from a total of 13,000 horsepower of electric motors at 475 volts.

Production – Each Dragline completes a digging cycle every 65 seconds. The Dragline has a digital scale that records every scoop and the weight and sends this data back to the office for production tracking purposes.

Re-generate – The Draglines generate power as the bucket returns to the ground in each digging cycle.

Shoes – The Draglines walk on 16 X 80 foot shoes at 7 feet per step or 1/10th of a mile per hour.

Weight – Each Dragline weighs 13.5 million pounds.