Coal Frequently Asked Questions

How does one type of coal differ from another?

Coal is classified according to:

  • energy value – how much energy is released when coal is burned
  • the degree of transformation of the original plant material into carbon, ranging from anthracite – the hardest – down through bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite
  • moisture content – coals high in carbon and low in moisture are ranked the highest
  • composition – coal is predominantly carbon but may also contain varying amounts of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur
How are environmental impacts of mining addressed in Alberta?
Who regulates mining in Alberta?