The Wilton Mine opened in 1901 on one of the largest known lignite coal deposits in the US. By 1907 it was the largest underground lignite mine in the world. Truax-Traer Coal Company took over mining operations in 1930 and started open pit strip mining using large shovels. This method of operation resulted in unemployment for many of the region's coal miners. The extensive spoil piles left by the strip mining operations also created severe environmental problems. Truax-Traer operated a number of coal mines using strip mining techniques in North Dakota and other states. The Company was purchased by Consolidation Coal Company in 1962.
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