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Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper by Robert Bryce

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19

SMALLER FASTER AND THE COAL QUESTION

About one train per hour: that’s the target loading rate for the massive coal silos, conveyors, and hoppers at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine in central Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

And on a cool, nearly windless day in March 2012, Scott Durgin, a regional vice president for Peabody Energy, was happy. Standing in the mine’s dispatch office, one wall of which was covered with flat-panel displays showing details of nearly every facet of the mine’s operation, Durgin pointed to a list of trains that had recently passed through the mine. A clock on the wall displayed exactly 12 noon. The huge mine had loaded ...

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