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Home > History of Development > Early Industry: Case Studies > Edmonton Coal Mining > Early Mining

Early Industry Case Studies

Early Mining

Sometime between 1875 and 1880, commercial mines began to open in Edmonton. It is estimated that between 1880 and 1970, over 150 mines were operating in the immediate vicinity of the city. 

In 1880 William Humberstone, Donald Ross and George Moore, all partners at various times, were operating commercial coal ventures. Ross and Moore opened a mine on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River shortly after. Two years later, six mines were selling coal to the local market. These mines were not mechanized; the Moore, Ross and Dennis mine produced eight tonnes per day, with two shifts of three men each, using picks, shovels and wheelbarrows. Work was restricted to a single narrow coal face at the end of a simple drift. In 1881, the Hudson's Bay Company briefly opened a strip mine on Big Island, where a steamer could moor and load directly. It was not very successful and soon closed.

Kenneth Tingley. Coal Mining in Alberta: An Introduction to Changes in Coal-Mining Technology in the Plains and Parkland Areas, 1872-1955. n.p.: Reynolds-Alberta Museum. With permission from the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.

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