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Milestone: BNSF moves one-billionth ton of coal from Wyoming mine

On Dec. 17, Burlington Northern Santa Fe moved the one-billionth ton of coal from Wyoming's Black Thunder Mine for Arch Coal Co. Producing coal for 27 years, the mine provides about 10 percent of the U.S. coal supply — enough to generate electricity for 5.8 million households.

On average, Black Thunder Mine produces nearly three tons of low-sulfur coal per second. Since 1977, about 71,428 trains carrying 9.3 million rail cars have been loaded with coal. So far in 2004, BNSF has moved more than 37 million tons of coal from the mine.

"We were there for their first ton and we were there for their one-billionth ton," said Will Cunningham, BNSF manager of coal marketing, in a prepared statement.

Black Thunder Mine ships coal to more than 23 states — including more than 100 coal-fired electric-generating plants — and two foreign countries.

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More News from 12/22/2004