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Coal Mining

Commercial quantities of coal were first discovered in the Collie Coal Basin in the south west of Western Australia in 1883. After extensive government testing the Collie Coal Mining District was declared open in 1896. Coal production began in 1898 and within two years roughly 400 men were employed in numerous small mines.
The local market for coal was very small - in 1898 Western Australia imported just 132,200 tons - and the small producers operating around Collie struggled to survive. The establishment of a coal industry was, however, essential to the development of a new State. Local coal production was instrumental, for example, in fueling Western Australia’s rail system, and remained so until the advent of diesel trains more than half a century later.

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