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

Early Industry Case Studies

The End of Edmonton Coal Mining

Penn Mine, Edmonton, 1921.During the 1930s, the city sued various mines, including the Penn and Premier operations, winning settlements for damages. In 1931, the province passed Bill 56, which prohibited mining in all towns over 5000 in population, or under highways or streets in current usage. The Premier, Dawson and Penn mines sued the city, unsuccessfully, for damages after this.

In 1924, Edmonton installed a gas boiler in its Civic Block as an experiment and found the results favourable. An effort was made to convert public schools from coal to gas after 1931. In 1934-1935 the issue became heated, as local coal producers began to feel the threat of closure. However, local mines were soon closing, despite efforts to implement new methods to improve efficiency. During the Second World War the coal mining work force declined from 771 in 1941 to 556 in 1942.

Star-Key Mine, Ed, 1948.After the Second World War, mining activities near Edmonton centred on areas such as Lake Wabamun, and the Sundance Mine at Morinville. Paul Cote converted this operation to a strip mine in 1945-1946, which relied upon heavy equipment and haulage and a handling system partly designed and built at the site.

Mining in the Edmonton area was extensive, especially after 1910. However, intensive mechanization did not become common due to several factors, such as the nature of the coal seams. Encroaching urban growth finally led to political pressure to end mining within Edmonton, and by 1945 coal mining activities had shifted to areas around the city. Belated efforts of city mines to mechanize in order to increase productivity in the face of various factors such as the move to alternative fuels and costly litigation with the city, proved unsuccessful.

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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