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Industry

Separation Vessel

Alberta has benefited from having an abundance of natural resources that has encouraged a healthy economy and stimulated innovation.

Agriculture was one of the earliest recognized resources in the territory that became Alberta, as thousands of early settlers traveled west to establish farms. In the early years, the agricultural industry was the main economic activity. As time went on, however, many who farmed found other industries to work in, thus reducing the size of the agricultural workforce. Also, farms have become much larger as technological advancements have allowed fewer people to cultivate large farms.

As large deposits of coal were discovered in Alberta, the province became the largest producer of coal in Canada. The coal mining industry's success led to several inventions like the car propelling mechanism, magnetic ore separator, and a coal-cutting machine. Since the 1950s, when petroleum began to replace coal as the principle fossil fuel, a new era of coal has begun that uses technology to create more environmentally sensitive fuel forms.

The forestry industry has developed into an important part of the province's economy. As sensitivities have increased around ecological issues, forestry has changed from clear cutting large areas in forests to patch cutting with efforts in reforestation.

Today, the petroleum industry produces more wealth in Alberta than any other sector of the economy. With the discovery of natural gas in 1883 at Medicine Hat, and oil at Turner Valley in 1914, to the large oil find at Leduc in 1947, the oil industry in Alberta has continually grown. Along with the growth in the energy industry has come innovations like those needed to extract bitumen from the Alberta oil sands, which are now recognized as one of the largest oil deposits in the world.

Alberta has not relied entirely on its natural resources for its wealth, as it is now the third largest producer of manufactured goods in Canada.

 

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