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
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