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Gillette is a city in Campbell County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 19,646 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Campbell County.
Gillette is situated between the Bighorn Mountains to the west and the Black Hills to the east, in the Powder River Basin.
From top name entertainers, to Broadway road shows, to the National High School Rodeo, CAM-PLEX is the beating heart of Gillette's flourishing cultural community. One of the finest multi-use facilities in the region, Gillette's CAM-PLEX features a fine arts theater, a convention/exhibition hall, two multi-purpose pavilions, rodeo grounds, covered stadium seating, a 21-acre park and forested picnic area, and several RV campgrounds. The 1,000 acre CAM-PLEX is ideally suited to host conferences and conventions, concerts, theater and dance productions, trade shows, livestock events, rodeos, and RV rallies.
Early homesteaders found deposits of coal close to the surface. This provided an inexpensive fuel for them to use in heating their homes. Starting in 1909, small mines were built around the county. The first major coal mine in Campbell County was Wyodak, east of Gillette. This was the first surface mine in the west, and the coal seam at Wyodak averages 80 feet thick. This mine continues to produce coal for the nearby power plant. Campbell County contains more coal than any other county in Wyoming. This coal has a very low sulfur content, and is clean burning. Increased concerns about air pollution in the United States encouraged the mining of Campbell County's low sulfur coal. During the 1970s coal companies planned and built large surface mines in Campbell County. Most of the coal produced in the County is shipped by train to coal-fired power plants in the Midwest. In 1999, Campbell County produced 316.9 million tons of coal. The state total for 1999 was 334 million.
Production of coal bed methane began in the late 1990s. Coal bed methane originates in coal beds and is recovered before the coal is taken from the ground. It is estimated that there will be over 100,000 methane gas wells in Northeast Wyoming by the year 2010. The importance of minerals in Campbell County has been increasing over the last 30 years. Campbell County now leads the state in assessed mineral valuation. The 1983 production of oil, gas, and coal was valued at $1,313,619,608.
Continuing mineral development will bring more growth to Gillette and Campbell County. Billions of tons of coal lie undeveloped in Campbell County. Future growth will come from existing coal mines and gas exploration and development. These continuing developments assure the citizens of Campbell County an exciting and promising future.
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