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new seams” 8

The main company responsible for closing these deep mines is UK Coal plc, and if past experience is a guide, the future of its remaining three deep mines looks poor. As Table 3 shows, Wellbeck is due to close this year and only Daw Mill is expected to still be in production in the 2020’s. UK Coal plc has now raised £100m pounds through a rights issue. Some of that money has gone to a £110m investment in extending the life of the Kellingley and Thorsley mines. The estimated cost of re-opening Haworth was put at £80m in 2008.10  By 2009 / 10 the cost of reopening Haworth had risen to £200m, as UK Coal plc’s evidence to the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s “Inquiry into Facing up to Climate Change” makes clear. In their evidence UK Coal plc report on how they have been refused finance by the European Investment Bank for this project because of delays in building new Carbon Capture and Storage coal fired power stations.11

Table 3 Life Expectancy of UK Coal plc’s Deep Mines 9

DEEP MINE

COMPANY

LIFE EXPECTANCY + NOTES

Daw Mill

UK Coal plc

2028

Kellingley

UK Coal plc

2019

Wellbeck

UK Coal plc

2010

Thorsley

UK Coal plc

2017

Haworth

UK Coal plc

mothballed

More alarmingly for those opposed to opencast mining it seems that for UK Coal plc it will only be able to maintain its role as the major supplier of coal if it greatly increases its number of successful opencast mine applications. Thus meeting the UK’s indigenous Energy Security needs becomes dependent on more and more opencast coal. What matters to those opposing opencast mining is their attempt to determine the future plans of UK Coal plc. Some idea can be gathered from analysing the Annual and Interim Financial Reports produced by UK Coal plc.

The 2009 Interim Report indicates that UK Coal expect to produce between 7.5m tonnes of coal in 2010 and  between 7.2 – 7.7m tonnes of coal in 2011 12 . From Table 3 above it can be deduced that the remaining 3 deep mines left operating in 2010 and 2011 (with Wellbeck closing in 2010) could annually produce as much as 6.8m tonnes if they produced at the maximum output achieved at each mine during the last five years or as little as 3.8m tonnes if all they achieved was the minimum output. On face value, to make up the shortfall, the level of opencast mine

UK COAL plc: AN ALTERNATIVE REPORTPAGE 12

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