The last opencast coal mine in England should now have closed, as has East Pit in Neath Port Talbot Wales. This leaves two operating in Wales and none in Scotland.
The existing mines, by company are:
Celtic Energy: Nant Helen, Powys (due to close December 2021)
Other former opencast sites are being put back. Banks Group is expected to vacate the Pont Valley, Durham in June 2021.
There are currently no planning applications for new opencast coal mines in the UK after Banks Group had three proposals refused in 2020 thanks to incredible campaigning by local groups.
Drax power station has stopped burning coal after decades of importing coal from the USA, Russia, Colombia and UK mines. Drax has dropped plans to convert the coal units to gas. Much of the wood for its biomass comes from the clear-felling of biodiverse forests in Europe and the Southern USA which are home to many rare and endangered species.
EDF are closing their West Burton coal power station in September 2022. West Burton burns coal from Banks Group’s opencast mines in the North East of England, as well as imported coal.
Kilroot coal and oil power station in Northern Ireland is going to be converted to gas. It has recently been announced that Kilroot will stop consuming coal in September 2023.
At Ratcliffe on Soar power station the owner Uniper plans to turn the power station into an incinerator for household waste and produce heat and electricity. There is no planning permission for this yet. It is the only UK coal power station without an date announced for it to cease using coal.
Coal phase-out in the UK is expected by October 2024. Given that coal consumption in power stations is very low in the summer, the last generation could be April 2024.
There are currently no underground mines operating of significant size.
Proposed Underground Mines
West Cumbria Mining had their proposal for a new underground coking coal mine off Whitehaven, Cumbria called in by the Secretary of State. This means that the council's previous decisions to approve the application will be thoroughly investigated by the Planning Inspectorate in September 2021 before the Secretary of State decides whether the mine will be stopped.
New Age Explorations (an Australian company) are applying for licences for an underground coking coal mine at Lochinvar, on the border between England and Scotland. If constructed the company hopes to be producing coal until 2044.
There are four major UK steel producers:
Port Talbot steel works, in Neath Port Talbot, Wales, is the second biggest UK single site emitter of carbon dioxide. The plant uses coking coal to make steel in blast furnaces.
Liberty Steel, which has sites in Newport and in Tredegar, has said it aims to become a carbon-neutral steel producer by 2030. The site currently uses Electric Arc Furnaces and recycles scrap metal so does not use coking coal.
Currently British steel's Scunthorpe plant can use a maximum of 25% to 30% recycled content using Basic Oxygen Steel making. It currently uses coking coal.
Celsa's Cardiff steelworks uses 100% recycled scrap steel in its products and so does not need coking coal.
 The Coal Authority, Production and Manpower returns for three month period January to March 2020 and other sources.
Queries and media contact: info @ coalaction . org .uk (without spaces)
We are an environmental organisation dedicated to ending coal mining and use in the UK for the sake of our collective climate and ecosystems. So you’d think we’d celebrate the claim by Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd that it will finally stop mining coal today at Ffos-y-fran in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. But we’re not. Because the abject failure of Merthyr County Borough Council to stop…
People hailing from Cumbria to London, and everywhere in between, descended on the Mines and Money Conference in London across two days (28th-29th Nov 2023). We demanded that investors stop pouring cash into the mining sector, and instead invest in our collective future. Together with Fossil Free London and other groups, we greeted investors with…
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Today’s global actions focused specifically on the state-owned China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim), and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Sinosure is said to be in advanced talks with the Ugandan government about providing credit for the project.
On 18th October dozens of protesters staged a sit-in occupation of the plush City of London offices of ten Lloyd’s of London insurers demanding they rule out insuring the proposed West Cumbria coal mine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Global mining companies are coming to London soon attempting to find investors in their ruinous projects at the Mines and Money Conference (28th to 30th November). Join our protests against it!
01 September 2022: Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd applies for a S.73 time extension to mine coal from Ffos-y-fran, and to accordingly delay and vary restoration works.
06 September 2022: Planning permission ends for coal mining at the Ffos-y-fran site, after 15 years and 3 months of operations.
12 September 2022: first reports to MTCBC have been made by local residents of coaling beyond the end of planning permission.
Over 30 Welsh NGOs and businesses have signed a letter to Welsh Minister Julie James and Deputy Minister Lee Waters, demanding they draw a line in the sand and announce ban on any further coal mines on Welsh soil. The letter was delivered on 11th October 2023.
On 15th September 2023, The Guardian reported that Tata Steel accepted Government funding to avoid closing its steelworks in Port Talbot, South Wales, by decarbonising it instead – but at a loss of up to 3,000 jobs. The UK Government is providing £500 million, and Tata Steel is expected to provide another £725 million…