The East Kootenay Coalfields

NTS Map Sheets: 82J/16,11,07,02; 82G/15,10,07,02 ​


Map of the East Kootenay Coalfields

View IC2018-06 for more information on the East Kootenay Coalfields

 

In southeastern British Columbia, coal deposits are in the Elk River, Crowsnest and Flathead coalfields, which extend from the Canada-USA border to the northwest for 175 km along the Rocky Mountains. Economic coal seams are hosted by the Mist Mountain Formation of the Jura-Cretaceous Kootenay Group. The formation contains 4 to over 30 seams, depending on location. Cumulative coal thickness ranges up to over 70 metres.

Coal seams are typically medium-volatile bituminous in rank, with some high volatile bituminous coals near the top of the section. Locally, low-volatile bituminous coals occur in basal portions of the section. Hard coking coal (HCC) is the predominant product mined at the four active mines. Mist Mountain Formation coking coals are known for good to excellent coal strength (CSR) values, low coke oven pressure, high coke stability, low to moderate base/acid ratios, and excellent blending characteristics, despite having low Giesler plasticity and dilatation. Coals that lack coking quality are marketed as PCI (pulverized coal injection) or thermal coal products. Southeastern British Columbia coals are characterized by low total sulphur contents.

Since 1898, more than 830,000 million tonnes, most of it coking coal, has been produced from the Crowsnest and Elk River coalfields.

Provincial legislation enacted in 2011 prohibits subsurface resource exploration and development in the Flathead River watershed, so parts of the Flathead and Crowsnest coalfields are excluded from coal mining activity.

Selected references

  • Bustin, R.M., 1980. Preliminary Investigations as to the Effects of Shear on Coal Quality in Southeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1980, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1981-1, pages 133-148.
  • Gigliotti, F.B. and Pearson, D.E., 1978. Preliminary Geological Map of Crowsnest Coalfield, Northeast Part. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Preliminary Map 31.
  • Grieve, D., 1980. Elk Valley Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1980, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1981-1, pages 71-72.
  • Grieve, D., 1980. Flathead Coalfield; in Geological Fieldwork 1980, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1981-1, pages 65-70.
  • Grieve, D., 1981. Geology of the Mount Banner Area, Elk Valley Coalfield. Geology in British Columbia 1977-1981, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, pages 24-33.
  • Grieve, D., 1981. Mount Banner Area, Elk Valley Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1981, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1982-1, pages 46-50.
  • Grieve, D., 1983. Tonsteins: Possible Stratigraphic Correlation Aids in East Kootenay Coalfields. Geological Fieldwork 1983, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1984-1, pages 36-41.
  • Grieve, D., 1985. Crowsnest Coalfield. Exploration in British Columbia 1985; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, pages B33-B38.
  • Grieve, D., 1986. Coal Rank Distribution, Flathead Coalfield, Southeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1986, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1987-1, pages 361-364.
  • Grieve, D., 1986. Subsurface Coal Rank Profiles Ewin Pass to Bare Mountain, Elk Valley Coalfield, Southeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1986, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1987-1, pages 351-360.
  • Grieve, D., 1988. Numerical Depositional Modeling of the Elk Valley Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1988, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1989-1, pages 535-541.
  • Grieve, D., 1993. Geology and Rank Distribution of the Elk Valley Coalfield, Southeast British Columbia; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bulletin 82.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Elkins, P.R., 1985. Correlation and Comparison of Two Coal-Bearing Zones Between Ewin Pass and Bare Mountain, Elk Valley Coalfield, Southeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1985, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1986-1, pages 17-24.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Fraser, J.M., 1982. Line Creek and Crown Mountain Areas, Elk Valley Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1982, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1983-1, pages 21-26.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Fraser, J.M., 1985. Geology of the Elk Valley Coalfield, Southern Half (Kilmarnock Creek to Alexander Creek). B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 60.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Goodarzi, F., 1994. Trace Elements in Coals of the East Kootenay and Peace River Coalfields, British Columbia; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1994-15.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Kilby, W., 1984. Structural Modeling of Parts of the Northern Dominion Coal Block (Parcel 73), Southeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1984, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1985-1, pages 53-56.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Kilby, W., 1985. Flathead Ridge Coal Area, Southern Dominion Coal Block (Parcel 82), Southern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1985, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1986-1, pages 25-36.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Kilby, W., 1989. Geology and Coal Resources of the Dominion Coal Block, Southeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1988, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1989-4.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Ollerenshaw, N.C. 1981. Stratigraphy of the Elk Formation in Southeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1981, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1982-1, pages 51-53.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Ollerenshaw, N.C., 1989. Stratigraphy of the Elk Formation in the Fernie Basin, Southeastern British Columbia Geological Fieldwork 1988, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1989-2.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Pearson, D.E., 1980. Geology and Rank Distribution of the Elk Valley Coalfield; in Geology in British Columbia 1977-1981B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, pages 17-23.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Pearson, D.E., 1981. Geology of Crowsnest Coalfield, Southern Part. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Preliminary Map 42.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Pearson, D.E., 1982. Geology of the Greenhills Range, Elk Valley Coalfield; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 51.
  • Grieve, D.A. and Price, R.A., 1987. Geological Setting of the South Half of the Elk Valley Coalfield; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 63.
  • Holuszko, M.E., 1991. Washability of Peace River and East Kootenay Coals. Geological Fieldwork 1991, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1992-1, pages 405-417.
  • Holuszko, M.E., 1992. Washability of Lithotypes from a Selected Seam in the East Kootenay Coalfield, Southeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1992, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1993-1, pages 517-525.
  • Johnson, D.G.S. and Smith, L.A., 1991. Coalbed Methane in Southeast British Columbia; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Petroleum Geology, Special Paper 1991-1.
  • Morris, R.J. and Grieve, D.A., 1987. Elk Valley Coalfield, North Half. Geological Fieldwork 1987, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1988-1, pages 427-434.
  • Morris, R.J. and Grieve, D.A., 1990. Geology of the Elk Valley Coalfield, North Half (Henretta Creek to Elk Lakes). B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 68.
  • Newmarch, C.G., 1953. Geology of the Crowsnest Coal Basin With Special Reference to the Fernie Area. British Columbia Department of Mines, Bulletin 33.
  • Pearson, D.E., 1976. East Kootenay Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1976, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1977-1, pages 77-82.
  • Pearson, D.E. and Duff, P.McL.D., 1975. Studies in the East Kootenay Coalfields. Geological Fieldwork 1975, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1976-1, pages 93-98.
  • Pearson, D.E., Gigliotti, F.B., Ollerenshaw, N.C., and Grieve, D.A., 1977. Preliminary Geological Map of Crowsnest Coalfield, Northwest Part. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 24.
  • Pearson, D.E. and Grieve, D.A., 1978. Preliminary Geological Map of the Crowsnest Coalfield, West Part. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 27.
  • Pearson, D.E. and Grieve, D.A., 1978. Crowsnest Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1978, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1979-1, pages 61-65.
  • Pearson, D.E. and Grieve, D.A., 1979. Elk Valley Coalfield (82J/2). Geological Fieldwork 1979, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1980-1, pages 91-96.
  • Ryan, B.D. and Khan, M., 1997. Maceral Affinity of Phosphorus in Coals from the Elk Valley Coalfield, British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1997, B.C. Ministry of Employment and Investment, Paper 1998-1, pages 28-1 to 28-19.
  • Ryan, B.D. and Takkinen, M., 1999. In Situ fracture Porosity and Specific Gravity of Highly Sheared Coals from Southeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1999, B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, Paper 2000-1, pages 359-371.
  • Ryan, B.D., 1999. A Note on Difficult to Wash Coals from Southeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1999, B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, Paper 2000-1, pages 373-382.