“The mine feeds the plant owned by Maple Grove-based Great River Energy, which churns out electricity for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans. Four other coal mines dot the North Dakota countryside, mostly supplying neighboring power plants.
This “mine-to-mouth” model produces some of the cheapest power in the country and has enabled coal to remain an economic anchor in North Dakota, even as the industry crumbles in other parts of the United States.
Mines have actually been hiring in North Dakota in recent years, a sharp contrast to other coal regions. Utilities have been investing significant money in coal-powered plants.”