The Peace River Coalfields

NTS Map Sheets:  93I/08,09,10,14,15; 93O/09,15,16; 93P/03,04,06,13-16; 94A/01-08; 94B/01,02,08 ​

Map of the Peace River Coalfields

View IC2018-07 for more information on the Peace River Coalfields

 

The northeastern British Columbia deposits are in the Foothills and Plains coalfields, together known as the Peace River coalfields. The Foothills coalfield extends for 400 km along the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains. The coals are distributed through a stratigraphic interval of more than 3000 m, and are hosted by five Lower Cretaceous units, the most important of which are the Gates Formation (Fort St. John Group) and the Gething Formation (Bullhead Group).

Coal in the Gething and Gates formations are bituminous in rank, ranging from high to low volatile. Metallurgical (coking and PCI) coals are predominant, and total sulphur and phosphorous contents are typically low. Approximately 130 million tonnes of coal has been produced from the Gates and Gething formations as of 2018.

The Lower Cretaceous Minnes Group hosts coal. However mineable thicknesses and continuity have not been documented and the Minnes Group coals are not current exploration targets. Deposits of weak coking coal are recognized in the Lower Cretaceous Boulder Creek Formation between the Pine and Sukunka rivers. On the Plains, coal seams of the Upper Cretaceous Wapiti Formation are lower in rank and have potential as thermal coal resources.

Potentially mineable coal resources in northeastern British Columbia coalfields have been estimated at 4.9 billion tonnes, with considerable potential for growth as exploration continues.

Selected references

  • Broatch, J., 1981. An Investigation of The Palynology of the Peace River Coalfield, Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1981, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1982-1, pages 113-121.
  • Broatch, J., 1985. Palynological Zonation and Correlation of the Peace River Coalfield, Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1985, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1986-1, pages 321-326.
  • Broatch, J., 1986. Palynological Zonation and Correlation of the Peace River Coalfield, Northeastern British Columbia, An Update. Geological Fieldwork 1986, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1987-1, pages 379- 384.
  • Broatch, J.C., 1987. A Summary of the Results of a Palynological Investigation of British Columbia’s Northeast Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1987, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1988-1, pages 451-458.
  • Carmichael, S.M.M., 1981. Depositional Environments and Paleocurrent Trends in the Gates Member, Northeast Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1981, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1982-1, pages 244-258.
  • Cunningham, J.M. and Sprecher, B.,1991. Peace River Coalfield Digital Mapping Program. Geological Fieldwork 1991, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1992-1, pages 441-449.
  • Cunningham, J.M. and Sprecher, B.,1992. Geology of the Lemoray Creek and Carbon Creek Areas, Northeast British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1992-12.
  • Duff, P. McL.D., 1977. Correlation Studies in the Peace River Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1977, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1978-1, pages 60-61.
  • Duff, P. McL.D., 1978. Correlation Studies in the Peace River Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1978, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1979-1, pages 86-87.
  • Duff, P. McL.D. and Gilchrist, R.D., 1981. Correlation of Lower Cretaceous Coal Measures, Peace River Coalfield. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1981-3.
  • Flynn, B.P., McMechan, R.D., and McMechan M., 1976. Geology of the Southeastern Peace River Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1976, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1977-1, page 83.
  • Flynn, B.P., McMechan, R.D,. and McMechan M., 1976. Wapiti River Area, Peace River Coalfield. Geology in British Columbia 1976, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, pages 137-147.
  • Gilchrist, R.D., 1978. Burnt River Area. Geological Fieldwork 1978, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1979-1, pages 79-83.
  • Gilchrist, R.D., 1979. Wolverine-Hasler Map-Area. Geological Fieldwork 1979, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1980-1, pages 101- 102.
  • Gilchrist, R.D., Flynn, B.P., and Hauser, R.I., 1977. Mount Spieker Area. Geological Fieldwork 1977, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1978-1, pages 57-59.
  • Gilchrist, R.D. and Flynn, B.P., 1978. Coal Resources, Peace River Coalfield, Northeastern British Columbia; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 33.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hughes, J.E., 1964. Jurassic and Cretaceous Strata of the Bullhead Succession in the Peace and Pine River Foothills. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bulletin 51.
  • Hughes, J.E., 1967. Geology of the Pine Valley, Mount Wabi to Solitude Mountain, Northeastern British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bulletin 52.
  • Hunter, D.J. and Cunningham, J.M., 1990. Burnt River Mapping and Compilation Project. Geological Fieldwork 1990, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1991-1, pages 407-414.
  • Hunter, D.J. and Cunningham, J.M., 1991. Geology of the Burnt River and Gwillum Lake (Southwest Half) Areas, Northeastern British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1991-4.
  • Jahans, P.C., 1991. Pine Valley Mapping and Compilation Project. Geological Fieldwork 1991, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1992-1, pages 433-440.
  • Jahans, P.C., 1993. Geology of the Pine River Area. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1993-22.
  • Karst, R.H., 1978.  Vitrinite Reflectance As A Correlation Tool in the Carbon Creek Coal Measures. Geological Fieldwork 1978, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1979-1, pages 73-78.
  • Karst, R.H., 1978. Coal Property Examinations, Peace River Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1978, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1979-1, pages 67-72.
  • Karst, R.H., 1980. Correlation of the Lower Cretaceous Stratigraphy of Northeastern British Columbia From Foothills to Plains. Geological Fieldwork 1980, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1981-1, pages 79-90.
  • Karst, R. and White, G.V., 1979. Coal Rank Distribution within the Bluesky-Gething Stratigraphic Horizon of Northeast B.C.. Geological Fieldwork 1979, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1980-1, pages 103-108.
  • Kilby, W., 1983. Tonsteins and Bentonites in Northeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1983, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1984-1, pages 95-107.
  • Kilby, W., 1983. The Character of the Bluesky Formation in the Foothills of Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1983, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1984-1, pages 108-112.
  • Kilby, W., 1984. Tonstein and Bentonite Correlations in Northeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1984, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1985-1, pages 257-277.
  • Kilby, W., 1985. Biaxial Reflecting Coals in the Peace River Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1985, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1986-1, pages 127-138.
  • Kilby, W., 1985. Some Chemical and Mineralogical Characteristics of Tonsteins and Bentonites in Northeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1985, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1986-1, pages 139-150.
  • Kilby, W., 1988. Tectonically Altered Coal Rank, Boulder Creek Formation, Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1988, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1989-1, pages 565-570.
  • Kilby, W.E. and Hunter, D.J., 1989. Tumbler Ridge, Northeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1989, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1990-1, pages 455-459.
  • Kilby, W.E. and Johnston, F.T., 1987. Kinuseo Mapping and Compilation Project. Geological Fieldwork 1987, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1988-1, pages 463-470.
  • Kilby, W.E. and Johnston, F.T., 1988. Bedrock Geology of the Kinuseo Creek Area, Northeast British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1988-21.
  • Kilby, W.E. and Johnston, F.T., 1988. Bedrock Geology of the Kinuseo Falls Area, Northeast British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1988-22.
  • Kilby, W.E. and Oppelt, H.P., 1984. Numerical Depositional Modeling - Gething Formation Along the Peace River. Geological Fieldwork 1984, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1985-1, pages 233-250.
  • Kilby, W.E. and Wrightson, C.B., 1986. Bullmoose Mapping and Compilation Project. Geological Fieldwork 1986, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1987-1, pages 373-378.
  • Kilby, W.E. and Wrightson, C.B., 1987. Bedrock Geology of the Sukunka River Area. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1987-7.
  • Lamberson, M.N. and Bustin, R.M., 1988. Petrology, Sedimentology and Geochemistry of Gates Formation Coals, Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1988, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1989-1, pages 571-576.
  • Lamberson, M.N., Bustin, R.M., Kalkreuth, W., and Pratt, K.C., 1989. Lithotype Characteristics and Variation in Selected Coal Seams of the Gates Formation, Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1989, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1990-1, pages 461-468.
  • Legun, A., 1982. Stratigraphy and Sedimentology Notes on the Bullhead Mountain - Peace River Canyon, Carbon Creek Area, Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1982, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1983-1, pages 93-98.
  • Legun, A., 1983. Butler Ridge Map-Area, Peace River District. Geological Fieldwork 1983, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1984-1, pages 123-130.
  • Legun, A., 1983. Stratigraphic and Depositional Relationships Between the Bluesky Marker Unit, Gething Marine Tongue, and Upper Coal Measures of the Gething Formation. Geological Fieldwork 1983, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1984-1, pages 117-122.
  • Legun, A., 1984. Geology of the Butler Ridge Area. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Preliminary Map 57.
  • Legun, A., 1984. Eastern Limit of Upper Coal Measures of the Gething Formation (Chamberlain Member), Peace River Coalfield. Geological Fieldwork 1984, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1985-1, pages 251-256.
  • Legun, A., 1984. Geology of the West Carbon Creek Area. Geological Fieldwork 1984, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1985-1, pages 227-232.
  • Legun, A., 1985. Geology of the Carbon Creek Area. Geological Fieldwork 1985, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1986-1, pages 155-160.
  • Legun, A., 1986. A Geological Update of the Carbon Creek and Butler Ridge Areas. Geological Fieldwork 1986, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1987-1, pages 365-368.
  • Legun, A., 1986. Relation of Gething Formation Coal Measures to Marine Paleoshorelines, (93P, 93I). Geological Fieldwork 1986, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1987-1, pages 369-372.
  • Legun, A., 1987. Coal Trends in the Gething Formation - An Update. Geological Fieldwork 1987, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1988-1, pages 459-462.
  • Legun, A., 1987. Geology of the Carbon Creek Area (093O/15). B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1987-21.
  • Legun, A., 1988. Geology and Coal Resources of the Carbon Creek Map Area. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1988-3.
  • Legun, A., 1990. Stratigraphic Trends in the Gething Formation (93P/1 to 8 and 93I/14, 15). B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Open File 1990-33.
  • Mathews, W.H.,1946. Geology and Coal Resources of the Carbon Creek-Mount Bickford Map Area. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bulletin 24.
  • McKechnie, N.D.,1955. Coal Reserves of the Hasler Creek-Pine River Area, British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bulletin 36.
  • Oppelt, H.P., 1985. Stratigraphy and Character of the Bluesky Formation. Geological Fieldwork 1985, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1986-1, pages 161-166.
  • Ryan, B.D., 1989. Preliminary Survey of the Coal Resources of the Upper Cretaceous Rocks, Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1989, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1990-1, pages 469-471.
  • Ryan, B.D., 1996. Coal Quality Variations in the Gething Formation, Northeast British Columbia (93O,J,I). Geological Fieldwork 1996, B.C. Ministry of Employment and Investment, Paper 1997-1, pages 373-397.
  • White, G.V., 1982. The Bluesky - A Stratigraphic Marker in Northeastern British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1982, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1983-1, pages 85-88.
  • Wrightson, C.B., 1987. Geology of Duke and Honeymoon Pit Areas, Monkman Coal Deposit, Northeast British Columbia. Geological Fieldwork 1987, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1988-1, pages 471-480.