GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Coal production in northeast Wyoming's Powder River Basin exceeded 300 million tons (272 million metric tons) for the 17th time in the last 18 years in 2017.

The region also saw its 7 billionth ton (6.3 billion metric tons) of coal mined during last year.

The Gillette News Record reports that the milestone came in the second half of the year, which saw production slow slightly from the first six months of the year.

According to production numbers reported to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the basin's 12 mines produced 305.2 million tons (276.8 metric tons) of coal, which is a 6.7 percent increase over the 286.6 million tons (260 million metric tons) produced in 2016.

Travis Deti, of the Wyoming Mining Association, says the numbers are encouraging.