Plans heard for changes at Dakota Westmoreland
By Chris Erickson
Last week Mercer County zoning commissioners heard plans from one of the oldest operating mines in the area, and the newest.
Both Dakota Westmoreland Corporation and Coyote Creek Mining Company presented information regarding their individual applications to rezone areas that are currently agricultural zones to industrial.
Dakota Westmoreland’s application was for a parcel of land approximately three miles south and one mile west of Beulah. The parcel was split into two tracts of land consisting of about 101.42 acres. Brad Lewis from Dakota Westmoreland gave the presentation, starting with a brief history of the corporation before moving into details of the proposed plans.
The major change would include a shifting the corporation’s local priority of coal mining to an oil transloading facility. Currently the mine produces about three million tons of coal per year, which would be reduced to 500,000 tons. Lewis stated that the current workforce of about 129 employees would be eventually reduced, but the corporation hoped the new facility would employ up to about 75 workers.
“We’re trying to create the most opportunities for the future,” Lewis said. “With service to the oil industry there are two opportunities. One is to bring in the supplies they use for their business like pipe, sand or cement. The other option is to bring oil in by truck or pipeline and send it out in tanker cars.”