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Founded in 1913 as The Cleveland and Western Coal Company, the company changed its name to The North American Coal Corporation in 1925. Today, North American Coal is the nation’s largest lignite coal producer and among the top 10 coal producers in the United States. Descendants of founder Frank E. Taplin continue to own a controlling interest in North American Coal’s parent company, NACCO Industries, Inc. (NYSE:NC), which was formed in 1986.

Cleveland and Western was a coal sales business until 1917, when it purchased and began operating three coal mines in Ohio. During the 1950s, the company signed its first long-term contract with an Ohio utility, issued stock to the public and expanded its operating activities into the Western United States with the acquisition of Dakota Collieries from Twin Star Industries. In the early 1960s, North American Coal continued its expansion through agreements with United Power Association, New York State Electric and Gas Corporation and The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company.

The Coteau Mine and the Falkirk Mine – North American Coal’s two largest mining operations – were developed in the early 1970s as non-union operations. The company expanded into Texas with the addition of the Sabine Mine in 1984. During the 1980s, the company redirected its operating activities away from underground mining and focused exclusively on producing lignite coal from its surface mines. By 1990, the company had sold its last Eastern underground mine.

In 1988, North American Coal and Phillips Coal Company formed a 50/50 joint venture – Red River Mining Company – to develop a surface coal mine near Coushatta, Louisiana and sell coal to the Dolet Hills Power Plant. And in 1994, North American Coal expanded into limerock mining services with an agreement with Vecellio & Grogan, Inc. to provide dragline mining services at its White Rock Quarry in South Florida. Based on its success at White Rock Quarry, North American Coal signed dragline mining contracts with Rinker Materials of Florida, Inc. and Tarmac America LLC.

In 1997, North American Coal and Phillips Coal Company entered into a second joint venture – Mississippi Lignite Mining Company – to develop the Red Hills Mine, the first coal mine developed in Mississippi. Also in 1997, North American Coal signed a mining agreement with San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Inc. to operate the San Miguel Lignite Mine near Jourdanton, Texas.

In 2000, North American Coal purchased certain assets of the Phillips Coal Company (“Phillips”), including its 75 percent interest in the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company, its 50 percent interest in the Red River Mining Company, undeveloped lignite coal reserves in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas, and possibly the most extensive bank of geological data on lignite coal reserves in the country.