Two lignite beds, the Niobe and the Bonus, occur at strippable depths within the Niobe area. The Niobe bed averages 5 feet (1.5 meters) in thickness and the Bonus bed averages 8 feet (2.4 meters) in thickness. These beds lie in the lower part of the Sentinel Butte Member of the Fort Union Formation (Paleocene).
The demonstrated resources of both beds combined is 122 million tons (110 million tonnes), all of which are under less than 120 feet (37 meters) of overburden. The overburden consists of glacial till and shale.
The lateral continuity of the coal has been locally interrupted by faulting, glacial outwash channels, and erosion. Folding and/or faulting occurs parallel to the Missouri Coteau escarpment and faulting occurs roughly perpendicular to the escarpment.