( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Coal is by far the most important product of the Canadian mines, as the value of the yearly output of coals and lignites reaches thirty five percent. of the total value of the country's mineral production.
Coal is abundant and extensively worked on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and its occurrence greatly facilitates over sea trade and local traffic on both oceans.
Canada's production of coal in 1908 reached nearly 11,000,000 tons ; whereas in 1886 it was only slightly over 2,000,000 tons. This is a very significant fact, for, to a great extent, the consumption and production of coal furnishes a measure by which to judge of the development of a country. In this connection it must be remembered that Canada consumes about as much imported coal as it does of domestic product.
In British Columbia extensive coalfields are found and worked on Vancouver Island, also in the interior of the province, in the Nicola valley, as well as in the Crow's Nest region, East Kootenay. All these coals are of high grade bituminous quality. Unworked deposits are known in the Queen Charlotte Islands ; in the Skeena region; and in the Similkameen district. These constitute valuable reserves.
In Alberta there are also vast deposits of fossil fuels of all qualities, from anthracite which is extensively worked near Banff to lignites. High grade bituminous coals occur along the lines of the Crow's Nest Railway ; along the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Good lignites are of very widespread occurrence; and there are very extensive areas of yet untouched coalfields all along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains.
In the south-eastern part of Saskatchewan the deposits of lignite in the Souris River region are being actively worked.
In the provinces of Ontario and Quebec there are no known coal bearing rocks, and the greater part of the coal consumed in these provinces is imported from the United States.
In New Brunswick a small coalfield is worked in the region of Grand Lake, mainly for local use.
From the Nova Scotia fields is produced about three fifths of Canada's total coal production. The main centres of production are in Cape Breton, in Cumberland, in Picton and in Inverness counties, in all of which are very extensive collieries. In 1908, to the total Canadian production of 11,000,000 tons, Nova Scotia contributed 6,540,000 tons.
The Mines Branch of the Department of Mines is at present carrying on investigations and tests of the coals from the various coalfields of Canada, under the direction of Dr. Eugene Haanel, Director of Mines. These tests will form the subject of an exhaustive report which will be issued shortly.