- Coal is the world's most abundant fossil fuel - more plentiful than oil and natural gas.
- Coal is second only to oil as a source of energy that we use.
- Coal is used in a lot of places in the world because it's easy to get and there's lots of it.
- Canada exports about 28 million tons of coal each year to more than 20 countries.
- Coal is our largest export to Japan, which is our second largest partner in trade.
- Coal is found in most areas of the world and it has a high energy content.
- Coal has many important uses, but most people know it as being very important in the production of electricity.
- Coal generates approximately 40% of the world's electricity.
- There are four main types of coal and all are found in Canada: anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite.
- There is more stored energy in Canadian coal than all the country's oil, natural gas, and oil sands put together.
- Each year Canada produces enough coal to fill the Sky Dome in Toronto every week for an entire year.
- Coal is the single largest commodity carried by Canadian railways.
- Canada ranks tenth in the world in total coal reserves, enough to cover a football field to a height of about 4,500 kilometers!
- Coal is also necessary for the production of iron and steel.
- Canadian coal is exported to 21 countries on five continents with an value to our country every year of about $2 billion.
Is Coal Just Coal?
There are many things that determine how effective a piece of coal will be and its value. Things like:
- temperature at the site where the coal is found
- pressure that was put on it over time
- the amount of time it was underground
- the presence of fresh or salt water around it
- the type of swamp or the amount of acid in that swamp
- the types of plants it came from
- the types of sediment around it.
The Coke Ovens at the Sydney Steel Plant where coal is changed into coke. The picture shows red hot coke. Coke is formed from cooking coal at a high temperature. It is then used in the steel making process.