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)
At the end of November 2021, we noticed the licence application for an extension to ‘Aberpergwm Colliery’ on the little-publicised webpage of the Coal Authority. This webpage contains a listing of all coal mine licences and licence applications and is a good one to bookmark and check back regularly…
42 million tonnes during the life of the extension + 30 million tonnes of “middling” coal to be dumped or put back into the coal mine.
Around 100 million tonnes of CO2 and up to 1.17 million tonnes of methane could be emitted during…
Energybuild hasn’t been keeping local people in the loop, so we thought we would! Volunteers from Neath Port Talbot Friends of the Earth have given out flyers in Glynneath to start conversations and direct people towards this information about the mine expansion…
“As one of the last major insurers without restrictions on coal insurance, AIG’s new commitments to reduce underwriting for coal, tar sands oil, and Arctic oil and gas are a major step forward for people and the planet,”
Update on coal extraction and use in the UK. The situation with coal production and use in the UK is changing. There are no new opencast mines proposed; only one proposed opencast coal extension and one existing opencast extraction site…
“It is a serious problem that John Neal has not been well enough briefed, or is just personally sceptical, about climate science and the findings of the International Energy Agency.”
Our Barrister’s pre-action letter convincingly puts the power to stop the Aberpergwm colliery extension licence firmly in the hands of Welsh Government Ministers. Now it is up to those Ministers to take their rhetoric and put it into swift, decisive action…
On 25th January 2022, whilst the Welsh and UK Governments continued to argue over which could stop it, The Coal Authority approved the full licence for an underground coal mine extension to Energybuild Ltd. The company can now mine a further 40 MILLION TONNES of coal until 2039…
Combined, both of you have received nearly 4000 emails from people who are dismayed by the news that the deep coal mine operated by EnergyBuild Ltd in Aberpergwm may imminently have the licence to extend it deconditionalised by The Coal Authority regulator…