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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Monarch Mine

A look at the early stage of the Monarch mine (2) mine No. 1573 lower tipple. Notice the ramp the trucks drive up on to dump the coal into a hopper where a conveyor takes it to the boxcar loader. There is an elevated conveyor to the right that empties into any of the three coal bins. Up above is the rock dump of the Atlas mine No. 1484.The Monarch Mine had leased 3,500 acres but only mined 2,080 acres. In 1921 the authorized capital was $1,000,000.00. At that time the mine manager was B. DeHart. The entrance to the mine was by shaft where the Number 1 seam was mined. The elevation at the mine entrance was 2,275 feet and was located on the road allowance between Sec. 7 and 8. The system of mining was the triple entry with room and pillar. In 1921 compressed air cutting machines of the Puncher type were being used which yielded a yearly capacity of 300,000 tonnes. The top of Number 1 seam is 173 feet from the surface. The distance between Number 1 seam and Number 5 seam is 47 feet 6 inches. The Number 1 seam is 8-1/2 feet thick with a trace of bentonite and bone.

1961, by now the Monarch mine name is no more as of 1954. The Monarch mine (Eric Lovett) and Sid McMullen of the Midland mine joined forces and formed a new company now called Amalgamated Coal Ltd. This scene is now the lower tipple of the Amalgamated coal mine as it appeared in 1961. The truck ramp for dumping is in lower right where the coal is taken to a screening area where some sizes go to the left to the three metal coal bins for the different sizes while the "slack coal" is taken to the right metal bin. Above this is the Atlas mine storage area for empty boxcars. I notice that the Empire mine tipple has now been torn down from its location on the far valley wall on the top right of the photo.On Monday June 18, 1934 an explosion took place in the Thomas Mine that killed Alex McLeod, fire-boss, and Hugh McDonald, miner. Ivor Jones, the pit-boss died in a rescue attempt. Jones was furthest from the scene of the tragedy when it occurred but valiantly attempted to save the others, resulting in sacrificing his own life. Twice he attempted to reach the fallen men and twice was overcome with the poisonous fumes and was dragged back 300 feet to safety. Jones persisted again and went in the third time, never to return. The findings of the jury put the sole blame on a electrical switch which had ignited the methane gas present which hurled the fireboss, Alex McLeod 80 feet to his instant death. The miner, Hugh McDonald met his death by flying debris and being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes. Ivor Jones was also overcome by monoxide fumes.The Valley of the Dinosaurs Its Families and Coal Mines

This article is extracted from Ernest Hlady, The Valley of the Dinosaurs : Its Families and Coal Mines (East Coulee, Alberta, East Coulee Community Association, 1988). The Heritage Community Foundation and the Year of the Coal Miner Consortium would like to thank Ernest Hlady and the East Coulee Community Association for permission to reprint this material.

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