Beinfait coal mine

coal or lignite
Another name for coal is lignite.
Coal comes from plant matter which has been buried for millions of years. Through heat and pressure it was converted into a fuel. When coal is burned energy is released. This energy is used to fuel power plants.

Coal is mined in the southern part of our province. Most of the electricity for the province comes from coal-fired power stations.
There are three active coal mines in Saskatchewan.
The coal mines are open pit mines.
Two mines are in the Estevan/Bienfait area and one is near Coronach. The dragline method is used to get the coal.
The dragline is a large machine which weighs as much as 300 elephants. (see photo below)
It removes the soil that covers the deposits of coal. The coal is then dug up using machines called shovels. The coal is then loaded on to coal haulers. After crushing, the coal is hauled to the plant for further crushing till it becomes a fine powder.

coal mine at Beinfait in southern Saskatchewan

electric shovel loading coal, dragline in the background

loading coal
loading coal onto a coal hauler
Coal-burning power stations are located at Boundary Dam (south of Estevan), Poplar River (near Coronach) amd the Shand power station (near Estevan). Some of the coal is shipped by rail to Ontario and Manitoba where it is used to generate electricity.
coal train
loading a coal train (Images courtesy of


2003 (updated July 2011)
sources - SSEER
Sask. Energy and Resources
Poplar River Coal Mine