Alberta is the
largest producer of coal in Canada, and the home of 70 percent of Canada's coal
reserves. The province covers the area of many coal deposits, making Alberta's potential for coal development enormous.
The province's total coal resources are estimated
at 2.6 billion tonnes, and contain nearly twice the energy of all other
non-renewable energy resources in Alberta, including oil, natural gas and
oilsands. Estimates suggest that approximately 800 billion tonnes of the coal
reserves are recoverable (790 billion of sub-bituminous coal and 10
billion of bituminous metallurgical and thermal coal).
There are 12
major active coal mining operations in the province. Seven of these are located
in the parkland and grassland natural regions, and five are located in the
foothills and mountains of west central Alberta.
Alberta coal is
use to generate electricity in the production of primary
iron and steel, and is an important source of energy for industrial processes,
such as cement manufacturing. Export markets for Alberta coal include Ontario,
British Columbia, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and Western Europe.