The Poplar River Mine is owned and operated by Westmoreland Coal and boasts some of the largest earth moving equipment in North America, including 2 draglines which remove 90 cubic yards of earth with each bucketful. The local coal mine supplies the fuel to the Poplar River Power Station which takes the total lignite coal production from the mine.
Two of the largest drag-lines in Canada, which are powered entirely by electricity, are used to remove the overburden and expose the coal seams. The coal is dug up by huge machines and loaded on 150 ton capacity coal haulers. The coal has a preliminary crushing and then is loaded into rail cars to be hauled to the plant where, after further crushing, it is burned as a fine powder. The coal mine has been located in three different areas surrounding Coronach. With the last move to a location 20 km. north of the community in 1994, the mine incorporated a conveyor belt which is two kilometres in length.
With a construction force of more than 500 men and a combined permanent work force of approximately 300 jobs, the entire Poplar River project has certainly affected the lives of people living in the area. Many local young people have been able to find employment and many new personnel have moved into the area to live.
Land reclamation has been an important on-going effort between SaskPower and Westmoreland Coal Ltd. This reclamation involves leveling the spoil piles and saved topsoil. This land can be utilized by the farming community the very next season.