Usibelli general manager Alan Renshaw said that, given extreme Alaskan weather and the isolated site, this was no mean feat. “Operating and maintaining heavy equipment — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long, in rain, snow, extreme wind conditions, in the dark of winter, and in very remote locations on the mine property are not easy tasks,” he said.

Safety briefings, he added, are conducted daily. Meanwhile “the cold and dark of winter months is a critical period,” said Renshaw. “Slips, trips and falls tend to be the typical conditions that result in injuries.”

President Joe Usibelli Jr. was similarly proud. “Our goal is a quality product, in the requested quantities, and with on-time deliveries, all accomplished in a safe manner,” he said.

Founded in 1943, Usibelli Coal Mine Inc.’s project lies in the mountains of the Alaska Range 115 miles south of Fairbanks adjacent to the Parks Highway and Alaska Railroad. With 130 employees, the mine operates year-round. Production began at 10,000 tons in 1943; last year, Usibelli produced 1.6 million tons of ultra-low sulfur, subbituminous coal, according to company officials.