In 1928, Harris Baukol and Hugo Domrese formed a holding company to purchase coal lands near Noonan, North Dakota. They secured an option on Hought Coal Company land and leased an additional 900 acres. Investigations proved the existence of large coal resources. In 1929, Baukol formed Baukol-Noonan Lignite, Inc. Bucyrus steam shovels, loading shovels, trucks, wagons, and other equipment were brought to the site. By 1933, Baukol-Noonan had become the third largest mining company in the state with a production of almost 200,000 tons. The 1930s also saw the beginning of an environmental program designed to return the land to its natural state.
As the years passed, the company increased production, modernized its equipment and buildings, and expanded into new areas of industry. The company incorporated in 1949, selling all of its capital stock to residents of North Dakota. In 1953, Baukol-Noonan established a plant for processing lightweight building material out of unused clay deposits, thereby providing year- round employment for the miners. In 1962, the mining operation was moved from Noonan to Larson, North Dakota, where extensive reserves of coal had been discovered. The main office remained in Noonan.
Expansion continued as the company opened another new mine at Center, North Dakota in 1970. Lignite mined as this site was shipped to the nearby Milton R. Young station, owned by Minnkota Power Cooperative. All mining at the original Noonan mine ceased in 1986. In 1988, Baukol-Noonan was purchased as a wholly owned subsidiary of Minnesota Power. The company's name was changed to BNI Coal, Ltd., and its headquarters were moved to Bismarck. BNI reached a major milestone in 2000, when the 100 millionth ton of coal was taken from the Center mine.
Donation; Acc. #80-688
Ledger 1: Sales Record Ledger, May 1933-April 1941
Ledger 2: Sales Record Ledger, 1930-1947