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North Dakota coal production up in 2017

Jeremy Eckroth, environmental manager at the Falkirk Mine in central North Dakota, stands in front of a massive dragline excavator at the mine in August 2017. John Hageman / Forum News Service

BISMARCK—Coal production climbed to its highest point in nearly a decade at North Dakota's five lignite mines last year, an industry group said Wednesday, Jan. 10.

The 29.1 million tons produced was the most since 2009, according to the Lignite Energy Council. The Freedom Mine north of Beulah, the largest lignite mine in the country, produced 14.7 million tons.

"Higher than average sales demonstrates the success at the mines and plants to reduce costs and keep lignite-based electricity competitive with other sources," Lignite Energy Council President and CEO Jason Bohrer said in a statement. "Generation also benefited from a strong economy in our region and the growth in industry, businesses and new homes."

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