VICTORIA -- A historic concrete mine structure near Nanaimo has been refurbished after a $1.4-million restoration project kicked off in 2019.

The mining structure, located in Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park, is one of only two remaining structures of its kind in all of North America.

"Morden Colliery is a tangible reminder of the coal mining industry that dominated the mid-island for nearly a century," said Kelly Greene, B.C.'s Parliamentary Secretary for Environment in a release Tuesday.

"Conserving this historic site demonstrates the importance of history and culture, along with ecological conservation in our provincial parks," she said.

The structure, built in the early 1900s, was the first of its kind in the region and was declared a National Historic Site in 1971. It was originally used to fill railroad cars with coal for delivery.

Restoration of the mining facility came as welcome news to the Friends of Morden Mine (FOMM) group, which has been advocating for repairs to the structure for roughly 20 years.

"Preserving this structure is important so future generations can see how it was done on a real-life scale," said FOMM president Sandra Laroque.

"It’s amazing to see everyone (will) be able to see history, as a picture cannot do it justice."

In the early 20th century, the province says that Vancouver Island was home to at least eight coal mines which employed thousands of island residents.