Fuel of local origin, except wood, has been scarce in the Peace River and Grande Prairie districts. The fuel requirements in this part of Alberta have been supplied largely with coal transported from other districts in Alberta. The coal production, most of which comes from small mines near the Wapiti river, has been insufficient for the needs of the area. Almost all the coal consumed in this district is shipped in from Edmonton and other points to the south, over the Northern Alberta Railways. The freight charges for this long haul, upwards of three hundred miles, add considerably to the price of coal in the Peace River country.
In an attempt to locate satisfactory coal supplies in this part of Alberta, a geological survey party was sent to the area south of the Wapiti river in the summer of 1944 by the Research Council of Alberta. It was considered that coal deposits of economic value might occur in the area since the area was known to be underlain by non-marine Upper Cretaceous rocks in which coal seams occur in southern Alberta.