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This artefact belongs to : © Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives
Miners operate a coal cutter in Galt Mine No. 8, AB
Silver salts on paper
10.2 x 12.7 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives

Keys to History:

How much coal remains in the Lethbridge coal field? At the end of the mining era, about 23,887,420 metric tons of coal had been taken out of the seam. Over 3,200 km of entries and rooms had been dug. And still, in the early 1980s the provincial Energy Resources Conservation Board estimated that the coal reserve in the Lethbridge field exceeded 480,000,000 metric tons. All of this toil - the founding of and growth of a city and a region, the hard work and sacrifice of countless miners and their families, the pride in an industry through good times and bad - resulted in the extraction of just 5% of all of the coal in the Lethbridge seam.


Galt No. 8 was notorious for creep. Creep describes the upheaval of the floor due to instability, or the sagging of the roof due to the weight of unsupported rock. Robert Bowman was killed in a rockfall on September 23,1938, and John Filchak died in another rockfall on November 19,1940.


This undated photograph shows miners operating a coal cutter in Galt Mine No. 8.


During its existence from September 1934 until February 1957, Galt Mine No. 8 produced 3,187,403 tons of coal. The seam consisted of 8 cm of bone (shale), 58 cm of coal, 1 cm of clay, 72 cm of coal and 8 cm of bone. Coal was found at depths ranging from 62 m to 142 m.


Altogether, 114 men died in the mines of the Lethbridge field over a period of eighty-two years. The biggest single accident was the Coalhurst Mine explosion on December 9,1935 that took sixteen lives, including three brothers - Anthony, Fritz and Louis Gresl.

© Musée McCord Museum