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A future for coal in the UK: £200m coal mine edges closer to production

The British coal mining industry looks set for revival, following a strong 2016 commodity cycle and a £200m coking coal project. West Cumbria Mining (W...

Dale Benton
|Jun 21|magazine3 min read

The British coal mining industry looks set for revival, following a strong 2016 commodity cycle and a £200m coking coal project.

West Cumbria Mining (WCM) plans to extract high value thermal coal to be used for steelmaking rather than coal used predominantly in power stations.

The mine looks set for a 2019 open date and Mark Kirkbride, Chief Executive, believes that the mine project will revive the industry following a great 12 months.

“Metallurgical coal was the best performing commodity in 2016,” he said.

“There is no source of it in Europe.”

Coal (Metallurgical/Coking coal) saw an 8 percent rise in price in 2016, its most successful year following five consecutive years of decline.

The plan for the mine will see the development of a coking coal mine just off the West Coase of England that will supply the European steel making coal market, which currently imports around 45 million tonnes per annum.

WCM already has commitments from European steelmakers to take 500,000 tonnes a year. They rely on imports mainly from Australia and the US. Mr Kirkbride said: “The mine will have a life of at least 50 years. We have to get over our hangover in this country. There is a future for coal.”