New Cumbrian coking coal mine – an asset or a liability?
21st June 2017

West Cumbria Mining have submitted a planning application to mine coking coal from Woodhouse Colliery Whitehaven. The mine would produce more than 2.4 million tonnes of coal a year, for 50 years.

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are opposing the application on the grounds that it is too close to the nuclear infrastructure at Sellafield. Their website is here.

If you want to object to this mine there is only a short period of time available. Submissions must reach the council by the 10th July.

“There are many reasons to keep Cumbrian coal in the hole not least because the plan is ludicrously close to Sellafield, the proposed mining of coal seams would extend to within 5 miles of Sellafield and even closer to the proposed Moorside site. We have just five weeks to send in objections to Cumbria County Council.”

There is a sample letter of objection on the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole website.

West Cumbria Mining plan to export much of the coal via railways to ports for export (“to the overseas markets of Europe or Asia”) and the UK’s three main steelworks.

The steel works in the UK provide vital jobs in the three remaining large steelworks and produce a raw material used in the production of wind turbines, buildings and many other everyday things. In 2015 the UK imported 4.75 million tonnes of coking coal mainly from the USA (44%) and Russia (27%). 72,000 tonnes of coking coal was produced from UK mines, although there are currently no mines exclusively producing coking coal.

The proposed mine would be predominantly for export, adding to global transport of commodities, rather than reducing it by displacing UK imports.

The coal is of higher quality than that predominantly burnt in coal power stations, but it is possible that this coal will be burnt in the power stations in the UK.

The business is based in Sussex. West Cumbria Mining is headed by coal mining engineer Mark Kirkbride, and has secured £14.7m in private equity backing from EMR Capital Resources.

Starting a new coal mine, close to a major nuclear power station to produce a raw material for overseas steel manufacturing seems like a illogical thing to do.

Leave a Reply


  1. […] “The application should be rejected because it is not in the national interest. From reviewing the documents submitted by West Cumbria Mining it is clear that the intention is to export the coal to Europe and Asia…The application to mine is too close to the Sellafield nuclear site and the proposal for another nuclear power station at Moorside. Underground mining can have a significant impact on the surrounding areas, recently a coking coal mine in Russia triggered an earthquake.” Coal Action Network […]

  2. Under 3 on the Richter scale was we showed in France enough to burst open nuclear waste containers in centered on them. Coal mining can cause seismic activity on this scale. We stopped the proposed waste dump in France in the Haute Vienne, France lost its contract for billions of euros importing high level waste for cash which is now dumped in Siberia. A crazy proposal creating an accident waiting to happen.

  3. This is madness – and it seems that there’s already a surfeit of coke in the world anyway, China are closing mines. Must be stopped – far too close to Sellafield to risk seismic activity as a result of coal mining.