production would need to be between 3.7 - 0.7m tonnes in 2010 and 4.5 – 0.4m tonnes in 2011. Based on the figures in Table 3, if an average deep mine production figure for the remaining three deep mines was taken over the last five years, it would amount to 5.48m tonnes, leaving opencast to produce between 2.02m tonnes in 2010 and 1.72 – 2.22m tonnes in 2011. Over the same five year period, figures from Table 1 suggest that the average opencast mine production was 1.36m tonnes, suggesting that UK Coal plc expect to ramp up opencast production by between 48 – 63% in 2010- 2011 compared to the average achieved during the last five years. Future production plans then are expected to increase the proportion of coal produced by UK Coal plc that is opencast coal.
A further indication of this is that between the Annual Report of 2008 and the Interim report of 2009 the following changes in terms of opencast operations are reported
Table 4 UK Coal plc’s Future Number of Opencast Mines
2008 Annual Report 132009 Interim Report 12
No of sites operational 8 8
Being submitted 3 3
To be submitted- 5
This also suggests an increasing reliance on opencast coal by UK Coal plc for its future coal production. However this opinion may need to be qualified as there is no ready information about what stocks of coal UK Coal plc have to meet current and future coal contracts.
The other conclusion from this section is that it is not UK Coal plc’s coal operations which have kept this company viable in recent years, it has lost over an estimated £110m mining and selling coal between 2000- 2008. It is probably the company’s reinvention of itself as a ‘Property Company’ which has kept the company viable. The next section critically analyses aspects of UK Coal’s claims about its property portfolio.
The conclusions from this section are:
UK Coal plc’s coal production has fallen by 58% between 2000 and 2008.
It now only operating 4 deep mines, one of which will close this year.
UK COAL plc: AN ALTERNATIVE REPORTPAGE 13