Board and guests tour Colowyo Mine and Craig Station

Nearly 100 Tri-State and member co-op directors, staff and affiliated guests hit the road earlier this week (July 8-9) for a two-day field trip to northwest Colorado to tour the Colowyo Mine and Craig Station.

Board and guests were treated to a bus tour of the Colowyo Mine. Shown is one of the 240-ton haul trucks at the site.

Board and guests were treated to a bus tour of the Colowyo Mine. Shown is one of the 240-ton haul trucks at the site.

For many of the directors and membership guests, this was their first opportunity to gain a first-hand look at the state’s largest surface coal mine, which was acquired by Western Fuels-Colorado, a Tri-State subsidiary, near the end of 2011. Colowyo Mine is one of two fuel suppliers to Tri-State’s nearby 1,311-megawatt Craig Station.

The Tri-State-sponsored visit to Colowyo Mine kicked off Monday afternoon with a motor coach tour of the vast operation. Employees of the mine boarded the two guest buses and provided an overview of mine operations and equipment, as well as fielding questions during the 90-minute tour.

The Colowyo Mine is located about 10 miles north of Meeker and is electrically-served by Tri-State member system White River Electric Association (Meeker, Colo.).

A total of 243 employees work at the mine site, which provides approximately 2.3 million tons of coal annually to Craig Station. Crushed coal from the mine is transported about 25 miles by rail to the plant’s coal delivery facilities.

Tri-State’s Rich Thompson (far right) conducted one of about eight tour groups at Craig Station earlier this week.

Tri-State’s Rich Thompson (far right) conducted one of about eight tour groups at Craig Station earlier this week.

On Tuesday morning the group arrived at Craig Station for a presentation on the plant’s history, operations and economic importance to the region provided by plant manager Rick Johnson, along with welcoming comments from CEO Ken Anderson, board president Rick Gordon and senior vice president of production Mike McInnes.

Following the presentations, the tour group was issued safety gear and divided into small groups for walking tours of the plant conducted by a team of employee tour guides. Visitors were given an opportunity to peek inside the boiler through observation ports, gain a bird’s eye view of the plant complex from the roof and see power production in action on the massive turbine deck.

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