A brand new information circular released by the BC Geological Survey summarizes the importance of the coal sector to our region and province.
Extending along the northwest-southeast structural grain of the Rocky Mountain Front Ranges in southern British Columbia, the East Kootenay Coalfields includes three fields: Flathead, Crowsnest, and Elk River. In the last 20 years, these fields have produced more coal than the rest of British Columbia's coalfields combined. Since 1898, over 780 million tonnes, mainly of metallurgical coal, have been produced from the Crowsnest and Elk River fields. The East Kootenay fields produce coal from multiple seams in the Mist Mountain Formation, a 100 to 700 m thick unit of sandstone, siltstone, shale, and mudstone in the middle part of the Kootenay Group (Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous). Most coals in the Mist Mountain Formation are coking coals. They are predominantly medium-volatile bituminous in rank and have low sulphur contents. High-volatile A bituminous coals occur near the top of the unit; low-volatile bituminous coals occur near the base of the section. Since 2008, Teck Coal Limited has been the operator and primary owner of all five active mines. These mines produce about 70% of Canada’s total annual coal exports.