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ND lignite production below average in 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Lignite production in North Dakota last year was a little below average.

The Lignite Energy Council says the state's four large lignite mines produced 27.5 million tons of coal in 2012. That's down about 700,000 tons from 2011.

The group says production has been near 30 million tons since 1988, making North Dakota one of the 10 major coal-producing states in the nation.

The four large mines are the Freedom, Falkirk, Center and Beulah mines. Most of the lignite mined last year was used to create electricity. Smaller amounts were used to produce synthetic natural gas and fertilizer products.