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Coal Creek Mines

British Columbia Mining Companies

On the British Columbia side of the Crowsnest Pass there were several major mining companies that mined coal between the late 1800s and mid-1900s.

The Crow's Nest Pass Coal Company

This company was founded by William Fernie, Col. James Baker and associates and became the most important producer of coal and coke in the region. In 1925, for example, the company's mines produced 92 percent of the coal mined in the district. Its productoin centred at Coal Creek, near Fernie, at Michel where production started in 1902, and at Morrissey (the Carbonado colliery) in 1903. Coke production began at Fernie in 1899, at Michel in 1902 and at Morrissey in 1903.

A subsidiary of the company, the Morrissey, Fernie and Michel Railway connected the Coal Creek mines with the Canadian Pacific and the Great Northern railways at Fernie. Gas outbursts led to the closure of the Morrissey operations in 1909. In 1913, production at Coal Creek had reached 924,200 short tons of coal. By 1950, the company had produced approximately 40,000,000 tons of coal and in many years production reached 1,000,000 tons a year.

The Crow's Nest Pass Coal Company which in the early days was affiliated with James J. Hill of the Great Northern Railway, remained the major producer in British Columbia until the operations were taken over by Kaiser Coal Company in the late 1960s.

Corbin Coal & Coke Company

This company, which opened in 1908, was developed by Daniel Chase Corbin of Spokane. It mines were located near the summit of the pass south of the present Highway No. 3 on about 20,000 acres (8 100 ha) of property. A railway, the Eastern British Columbia, was built from McGillivary on the Canadian Pacific to the townsite at Corbin and the nearby mines. The rich coal deposits were near the surface and one seam reached 200 feet (60 m) in thickness. In total, over a depth of 2,600 feet (790 m), over 800 feet (240 m) of coal was discovered. The Corbin operations included one of the earliest open pit mines (the Roberts or No. 3 Mine) in the area and employed steam shovels to excavate the overburden and the coal. The Corbin colliery produced until 1935 when it was closed. It was opened during the Second World War but closed again in 1948. The total production was 4,068,661 tons of coal.

Canadian Pacific Railway

The railway company maintained rights to coal on six square miles ( 15.5 km2) of land at Hosmer, eight miles (13 km) north of Fernie. In 1906 the company developed its own mines and coke ovens on the site but the operations were not successful because of the complex folding and faults in the area. The mines were closed in 1914 after 860,000 tons had been produced.

Discovery Coal Field Companies Coal Towns Families Techniques Ventilation Tipples Disasters Rescue Equipment Coal and Coke Coal's Decline Coal's Revival
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