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The Other Black Gold: The uncertain future of coal

Industry Report: Mining

Dec 17, 2013

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The Vitals

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The Pulse
The Other Black Gold

Oil isn’t Alberta’s only dark-hued energy resource. The above numbers are largely due to coal mining, which has a long history in the province (we excluded oil sands extraction from the figures because they aren’t broken down between open pit, which qualifies as mining, and in situ, which does not).

Coal’s future is less certain. Its use domestically for energy production is declining, and concern over its contributions to climate change are putting it out of favour in many other places. Nonetheless, CoalSpur Mines has its 12-million-tonne-per-year Vista project, near Hinton, in the regulatory process. Should the mine go ahead, it will be the largest thermal coal mine in Canada, shipping the vast majority of its output to Asia.

The Numbers

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Why Alberta’s coal reserves
may end up
stuck in the ground
What is industry doing
with byproducts of
bitumen production?
The recently completed
Kearl oil sands mine
will be one of the last of its kind

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