SOLD TO HARGREVES
A PROPOSED ECO-TOWN SITE
This has resulted in the closure of 18 deep mines since 1997 and the sale of another, Maltby, to Hargreaves Services. This leaves UK Coal with just 4 working deep mines. The trend is for a continuing reduction in deep mined coal. The argument explored further in this paper is that the company is likely to become more dependent on gaining an increase in opencast mining applications if it is going to maintain its current share of the UK Energy Market, a matter of concern to all those opposing opencast mining applications.
In addition, it suggests that UK Coal plc will not, for the foreseeable future, be investing in a new deep mine development. As the 2nd report in this series “UK Opencast / Surface Mined Coal: It’s Role in Providing UK Energy Security” made clear, such a level of investment costing £300-£350m pounds is unlikely unless there is a public subsidy 7
A question mark therefore hangs over the future continuation of UK Coal plc’s deep mines. The 2nd Report in this series “Opencast / Surface Mined Coal: It’s Role in Providing the UK with Energy Security” commented
“On the eve of Coal Industry’s de-nationalisation, 15 deep mines were working. Since then deep mines have continued to close, their owners claiming exhaustion of reserves, geological difficulties or flooding as the cause. The question of why this is the case and why future coal needs cannot be met from current or new deep mines is a very relevant question. With 7 deep mines left in England they are due to meet between 40 -50% of our future coal needs – but only as long as it seems that firstly they do not meet new geological problems. If they did, and their owners, mainly UK Coal plc continued to close these pits, then expect opencast coal production to increase dramatically to fill the gap. The second determining issue is the price of coal, which does fluctuate over time. The more expensive coal becomes the more likely will be the prospect of deep mine investment to extend the life of a mine. The cheaper coal becomes the more likely the prospect of the closure of deep mines as it becomes uneconomic to extend the life of a mine by accessing
UK COAL plc: AN ALTERNATIVE REPORTPAGE 11