Mineral Facts

The Banff Springs Hotel exterior is Rundle stone, a brown sandstone, still quarried near Canmore for use in construction and landscaping.

Paskapoo sandstone from the Glenbow quarry near Calgary was used in construction on the top four stories of the Alberta Legislature Building, which began in 1907 and finished in 1912.

To November 2008, 51 kimberlite bodies (the volcanic rock type most likely to contain economic deposits of diamonds) have been discovered in Alberta. Of these areas, the Buffalo Head Hills area in north-central Alberta has the highest diamond content results to date. 28 of the 41 Buffalo Head Hills bodies contain diamond. At least three of these kimberlites (kimberlites K14, K91 and K252) contain estimated diamond grades of >12 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht). The Buffalo Head Hills kimberlite K252 has the highest estimated diamond grades in Alberta with a preliminary mini-bulk (22.8 t) sample grade of 55 cpht. The biggest diamond found to date in the Ashton K14 complex, at Buffalo Hills, north of Edmonton is 1.3 carats. The diamond is a single crystal, of silvery grey appearance with many dark inclusions making it an industrial grade diamond.  

In 1958, the first diamond in Alberta was reportedly found in fluvial gravels near Evansburg, east of Edson. Solution mining of salt occurs in Alberta. Water is injected into salt formations to recover the brine. Brine is water saturated or nearly saturated with salt (usually NaCl – sodium chloride – table salt -- but could be other salts). “Saturated” in this context means water containing as much dissolved salt as it can hold. At 15.5 °C (288.65 K, 60 °F) saturated brine is 26.4% salt (sodium chloride) by weight). At 0 °C (273.15 K, 32 °F) brine can only hold 26.3% salt.

Ammolite or ammonite shell was named the official gemstone of the City of Lethbridge in 2007, it is unique to Alberta. It is the fossilized and mineralized remains of ammonite, a group of marine molluscs that became extinct approximately 65 million years ago. Ammonites are members of the cephalopod class, which includes nautilus, squid, octopus and cuttlefish. Ammonite shells first generated interest among Alberta mineral collectors in the 1970s when the iridescent red and green coloured stones became popular.

Commodities mined in Alberta include: oil sands; coal; limestone; salt; shale; dimension stone; ammonite shell; sandstone; sand and gravel.

Alberta is the cement manufacturing hub for the Prairie provinces. There are two major plants, one near Exshaw (west of Calgary) and the other in Edmonton.

In Alberta, salt is recovered by solution mining. Water is pumped down wells to dissolve the salt and the resulting salt brine is pumped to the surface.

Alberta has hundreds of sand and gravel pits of various sizes. Some sand and gravel is washed for placer minerals, such as gold and platinum, before being used for construction, fill and cement manufacturing.

Communities that have a significant dependence on mining for their livelihood include Fort McMurray; Hinton; Edson; Forestburg; Hanna; and Grande Cache.