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New Coal Action Network report ~ Coal in Steel: Problems and solutions

Coal Action Network is excited to release a new report - Coal in Steel: problems and solutions

Coal in Steel is aimed at those looking for background information to campaigns against proposed new coking coal mines and considering how coal needs to be phased out of steel production. The report counters the positions of companies arguing for an ongoing need for coking coal in the steel industry. Coal in Steel is UK focused, but the coking coal mines proposed would export coal, to Europe or beyond.

The report answers questions such as:

  • When is coking coal used rather than thermal coal?

  • How is coking coal consumed by the steel industry?

  • What climate impacts does burning coking coal have?

  • What are the social and ecological impacts of mining coal?

  • How can we decarbonise the steel sector?

  • What is the government doing about steel sector emissions?

  • Why new coking coal mines are a step in the wrong direction.

The public inquiry into West Cumbria Mining Ltd's proposed 2.78mtpa coking coal mine opened last week. After the planning inspector gives his recommendation, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will decide whether this application can extract coal to be sold predominantly to foreign markets. This report answers the arguments raised in support of this, and similar, applications.

Key facts in the report include:

  1. Two of the three biggest single site carbon emitters in the UK are Tata Steel's Port Talbot steelworks and British Steel's Scunthorpe steelworks, which use coking coal.

  2. Steel is already being produced in two of the four major UK steelworks via electric arc furnaces and recycled scrap steel, resulting in much lower emissions and no need for coal usage.

  3. The British government is considering the implications of the recommendation of its Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’.

  4. Green hydrogen is already being used to produce steel without coal or large emissions, with project such as HYBRIT in Sweden having already sold low emission steel. Many more projects are expected to follow suit before 2030.

  5. Four of the five world's biggest steel makers have made strong commitments to net-zero carbon steel and drastic coal use reduction by 2050.

  6. There is no such thing as carbon neutral coking coal.

Download the Coal in Steel: problems and solutions report, or our one page summary to find out more.

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