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)
Between 2008 and 2012, communities fought against the threat of an opencast coal mine on the edge of their picturesque rural Northumberland villages. Northumberland Local Planning Authority sided with…
Today (10th July 2021) we gather to say goodbye to our friend Dongria Khond, also known as Penny Eastwood. Her life was remarkable in the amount of people she touched, the things she did and the places she protected.
With Adani looking to renew its insurance soon, we need to make sure the last few insurers rule out insuring this mega mine. Join a Power Hour of action to help ramp up the pressure.
Indigenous Wayuu elders and community leaders in northern Colombia are gathering to demand justice from the coal company Cerrejón, which operates Latin America’s biggest coal mine.
As they reopened after lockdown, Lloyd’s of London and companies involved in their marketplace opened their offices to find local people demanding that they rule out insuring the West Cumbria and Adani coal mines immediately.
Firstly, it’s nothing at all to do with Lloyd’s PLC, the bank – they’re not great either, but that’s another story. Lloyd’s of London is a large insurance corporation with an HQ in London….
Update on coal extraction and use in the UK
A new report – Still Burning – tells the harrowing but little-known stories of the communities from Russia, Colombia, the USA, and Australia whose homes and way of life are literally torn up to mine the coal beneath them, suffering widespread human rights abuses.
STOP PRESS: in a surprise decision, the West Cumbria coal mine application is going to a public inquiry called by Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State), announced late yesterday (11.03.2021). Climate change will never be a local issue.