First graders name 11th dragline in ND Wiley Coyote
By Kate Johnson
With a new mine emerging and the assembly of the 11th dragline in North Dakota, the dragline is going to need a name. And who better to name it than local students?
As Beulah and Hazen are towns surrounded by the coal industry, these draglines are memorable and historical parts to these communities. Coyote Creek Mining Company decided to hand the reins over to students ages kindergarten through sixth grade, to allow them to brainstorm and create a name for North Dakota’s newest dragline.
Roughly 20 names were submitted to the newest mining company by K- 6th grade classes. Those 20 submissions were then run through a committee that reduced the entries down to seven options. Those seven names were then voted on by the entire staff at Coyote Creek.
This process narrowed it down to three names, which were: Wiley Coyote, Coyote Claw, and Big Dipper. The last three names were then put through the committee to pick the final winner, with Mrs. Aanderud’s first grade class’s nomination, Wiley Coyote, coming out on top for the win.
“When I showed them the envelope from the mine and showed them where it was from, they knew right away they won,” says Aanderud.
The logic behind the name is what really blew away Maintenance Manager Randy Lindborg,“Wiley” after the most famous coyote of all, “Wile E. Coyote,” of cartoon fame, because he was always hungry.
“I think what will be really neat for these kids is 25 years from now, they will be approximately 33 years old when this thing retires. If they are still around living in this area, they are going to know they had a hand in it,” says David Straley, manager of Government and Public Affairs.
The dragline itself has quite the background story, traveling a total of 4,200 miles. It started its life in Elk Valley, British Columbia, Canada, in 1970. Elk Valley was a small coal mining community, and the dragline ran for about 30 years in that area before it was parked and no longer used.
Some time after that an American company, in association with North American Coal, became interested in it. The dragline was dismantled and hauled across the United States to Crystal River, Fla, traveling 2,600 miles carried by 150-plus trucks.
Once it arrived the rebuild began. However, for an unknown reason, production stopped and the project came to a screeching halt. The dragline was left sitting in a fenced-off area, waiting for the day it would run again.
When Coyote Creek Mine was becoming a reality, the company began putting some equipment together and acquired the Canadian dragline. They began the dismantle process once again and loaded up all the pieces onto 150-plus trucks and began the trek from Florida to North Dakota, traveling another 1,600 miles.
Upon arrival, the dragline began to be pieced back together, along with some major updating as well. The re-assembly of the dragline commenced in June 2014 and, nearing the end of November this year, the project is expected to be completed.
Starting out as a DC (direct current)-powered dragline, which was all there was back when the dragline was built, it has now been transformed into an AC (alternating current) powered dragline. AC power draglines use less power off the line, are more efficient, more economical to operate, and have better control, all adding up to a number of reasons of why AC power is a better option. For that reason, Coyote Creek rebuilt the dragline to operate as an AC machine.
“It is arguably the most technologically advanced dragline in the world,” says Lindborg.