The Similkameen Coalfield

NTS Map Sheets:  92H/10,09,08,07

Download map of the Similkameen Coalfield (1:50,000)

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Merritt-Similkameen Coalfields (1:250,000) (PDF, 5.3MB)

This coalfield is comprised of two separate Tertiary basins referred to as Tulameen and Princeton. About 4 million tonnes of high-volatile coal were produced from the two basins prior to 1961. Coal is hosted by the Eocene Allenby Formation.

The Princeton Basin covers an area of about 170 square kilometers. There were 13 small underground and one surface mine that operated in the central part of the basin up until about 1961. Coal seam stratigraphy is not well understood compared to the Tulameen Basin and this has hampered development. Four coal zones with a cumulative coal thickness of 25 metres or more are present. They occur over a stratigraphic section of 500 metres. Rank of the coal varies from lignite to high-volatile B bituminous.

The Tulameen basin covers 13 square kilometres and hosts the past producing Basin mine, which has been in operation sporadically as recently as 2013. The deposit hosts also hosts bentonite deposits. There are two coal seams; the upper main seam ranges in thickness from 18 to 34 metres and the lower seam averages 7.5 metres. Coal rank is generally high-volatile C to B bituminous. In recent years it has been marketed primarily to local cement plants.

Selected references

  • Church, B.N. and Brasnett, D., 1982. Geology and Gravity Survey of the Tulameen Coal Basin. Geological Fieldwork 1982, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1983-1, pages 47-55.
  • Evans, S.H., 1977. Tulameen Coal Basin. Geological Fieldwork 1977, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1978-1, pages 83-85.
  • Evans, S.H., 1977. Geology of the Tulameen Coal Basin. Geology in British Columbia 1977-1981, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, pages 76-87.
  • McMechan, R.D., 1975. Princeton Basin. Geological Fieldwork 1975, B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1976-1, pages 99-103.
  • McMechan, R.D., 1983. Geology of the Princeton Basin; B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Paper 1983-3.