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2012 Sponsors

Mining and using coal





Preliminary figures indicate that Canada produced 63 Mt of coal in 2009, a 7.7% decrease from the 67.8 Mt produced in 2008. This decline was forecast by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), who indicated that coal production was “expected to decrease by 5 Mt” in 2009. The NRCan forecast also indicated that the decline would mainly relate to coking coal and that steam coal production would remain stable. About 22 Mt of coking coal were produced in 2009, a decline of 5 Mt compared to the 27 Mt produced in 2008. Steam coal production remained the same at about 41 Mt.


All of Canada’s coking coal production was exported in 2009. Approximately 6 Mt of bituminous steam coal were exported while 35 Mt of steam coal were used for domestic coal-fired power generation. Most of the output in the coking coal category was hard coking coal and only a small portion was PCI coal. The majority of the steam coal produced was subbituminous and lignite coal; only 10% was bituminous-grade.


Alberta produced 31 Mt of coal in 2009, down slightly from 31.6 Mt in 2008. B.C. produced 21 Mt, a decline of 4.7 Mt from 26.2 Mt in 2008. Saskatchewan produced 10.4 Mt, an increase of 500 000 t from the 9.9 Mt produced in 2008. New Brunswick produced 161 000 t while Nova Scotia did not report any coal production.





Canada consumed some 58.4 Mt of coal in 2008. The largest amount was used by the 21 coal-fired power generation plants, which together used 51.4 Mt of coal in 2008. About 4.3 Mt of coking coal were transformed into coke to be used in the steel industry. Industrial energy and non-energy uses accounted for 2.5 Mt. Of the total amount consumed, 38 Mt were sourced domestically and 22 Mt were imported.


Alberta, Canada’s largest coal-consuming province, consumed 27.4 Mt of coal in 2008. Almost all of this coal was used for coal-fired power generation, which produced about 66% of the electricity supply in the province. Alberta accounted for 47% of Canada’s total coal consumption and for 53% of its total coal-fired power generation.


Ontario is the second largest coal-consuming province. In 2008, Ontario consumed 15.8 Mt of coal, including 11 Mt for coal-fired power generation, 4.3 Mt for coke production, and about 600 000 t for various industrial and non-energy uses. Coal-fired power generation provided about 16% of the province’s electricity in 2008. Ontario’s coal consumption is declining as the province’s policy to phase out all coal-fired power generation by December 31, 2014, continues to be implemented.


Saskatchewan consumed 9.5 Mt of coal in 2008. Of that total, 9.2 Mt was lignite coal used for coal-fired power generation, providing about 60% of the province’s electricity supply.


Nova Scotia consumed 3 Mt of coal in 2008. Almost all of this consumption was used in coal-fired electric power generation, which provided about 56% of the province’s electricity. New Brunswick consumed 1.1 Mt in 2008, all for coal-fired electric power generation. Quebec consumed 843 000 t in 2008 for energy and industrial purposes. B.C. consumed 714 000 t of coal in 2008 for energy and industrial purposes. Manitoba consumed 300 000 t in 2008, most of it (233 000 t) for electricity generation with a limited amount used for industrial purposes.


*data provided by Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada - 2009 Coal Report


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Did You Know?

The Canadian coal industry offers a wide range of careers, many in areas not typically associated with mining. Production personnel must be skilled in the operation of sophisticated computers and machinery. Engineers, environmental scientists, and biologists are responsible for ensuring mining is carried out in a safe and environmentally-responsible manner.