Cloud Peak lands major deal to ship Montana coal to Japan

GILLETTE, Wyo. – Coal from the Powder River Basin will soon be on its way to Japan to fuel two new coal gasification plants in Fukushima Prefecture.

Gillette, Wyo.-based Cloud Peak Energy, which operates the Spring Creek Mine near Decker, will begin to ship up to 1 million tons of coal a year to Japan by the end of 2019, the company announced Tuesday.

The coal will power two, state-of-the-art, coal gasification plants that will begin operation in 2020. These types of plants use combined-cycle technology to power the plants with reduced carbon emissions and more efficient generation.

Japan is building the new next generation coal technology plants in response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, where three nuclear reactors melted down following a massive earthquake.