Coteau Freedom Mine

Useful Information

Location: 204 Co Rd 15, Beulah, ND 58523.
(47.384856, -101.841830)
Open: All year Mon-Fri after appointment, 24-hour notice required.
Classification: MineLignite Mine
Light: n/a.
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Coteau Freedom Mine, Coteau Properties Company, 204 Co Rd 15, Beulah, ND 58523, Tel: +1-701-873-2281.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1980s becomes the largest lignite mine in the United States.


The formations of sedimentary origin were deposited in The Williston Basin is the dominant structural feature of western North Dakota, the center is near the town of Williston, hence the name. The basin is almost symmetrical containing about 4.5 km of sedimentary rock overlying a basement complex of gneisses, schists and granites. Freedom Mine is located 160 km southeast of the center, the layers dip towards the center with about 0.5 to 1 degree.

The lignite is young coal, at the beginning of the coalification process, and very close to the surface. The Freedom Mine has a single seam of lignite which is 5.5 m thick. This is thicker than most seams in the power belt.


Coteau Freedom Mine is the largest lignite mine in the United States. It delivers approximately 16 million tons of coal per year. It is operating two 120 m² draglines Bucyrus-Erie 2570 and a fleet of 200-ton overburden trucks. The lignite is used at Great Plains Synfuels Plant, Antelope Valley Station, Leland Olds Station and Stanton Station. It is also possible to visit those power stations.

The Freedom Mine has only a single seam of lignite. Mines with two or three seams need a second dragline to remove the clay between the seams. In other words: a single seam is much easier to mine.

Despite all this magnificence, there are some drawbacks of such huge mining operations. A planned mine expansion will result in the destruction of 1,349 sites sacred to Native American nations. This includes sacred sites, stone circles, effigies, burial mounds, and 27 National Register of Historic Places sites. A key wildlife habitat will also be destroyed.