Coal is the most valuable mineral produced in British Columbia. In 2000, the province produced 26 million tonnes from eight mines, with a value of approximately $1.4 billion. British Columbia?s active coal mines are on Vancouver Island, in the East-central Interior and in the Southeast Kootenay region, providing about 40 per cent of British Columbia?s mining employment. Billions of tonnes of coal remain to be extracted from areas such as Comox, Telkwa, Tulameen and the Peace River region near the Alberta border.
British Columbia?s total coal resource is estimated at more than 20 billion tonnes, varying in rank from lignite to anthracite. The province has an abundance of undeveloped coal deposits. The Kootenay and Peace River coal fields have measured resources in excess of 2 billion tonnes. These are composed mainly of medium-volatile bituminous coking coal, with significant amounts of highvolatile and low-volatile bituminous coal. The Comox coal field on Vancouver Island has a measured resource of over 85 million tonnes of highvolatile coal. The Klappan and Groundhog fields have extensive undeveloped anthracite resources while the Hat Creek and Coal River areas are rich in undeveloped lignite to sub-bituminous rank coal. (Information courtesy Ministry of Mines, British Columbia)