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total domestic production of coal over a slightly longer period (1999 – 2008) has fallen by 53%, 1

Table 1) Recent trends in UK Coal plc’s Coal Production 5

YEAR

Deep mined

As a %

Surface mined

As a %

Total

Page in Annual Report

2000

15.2

80

3.9

20

19.1

5

2001

15.4

79

4.2

21

19.6

4

2002

15.2

78

4.3

22

19.5

6-7

2003

14.8

83

3.1

17

17.9

6

2004

12.0

86

2.0

14

14.0

3 in 2005

2005

9.0

90

1.0

10

10.0

3

2006

8.2

93

0.6

7

8.8

13 in 2007

2007

6.6

81

1.5

18

8.1

13

2008

6.2

78

1.7

21

7.7

Within this, the picture for opencast coal is more complex. By 2003 UK Coal plc was experiencing the effects of a more stringent planning system arising from the revision of MOP3 in 1999, 2 and the number of working opencast sites had fallen from 13 in 2000 to 8 by 2003 and 4 in 2005.  The effects of this fall in the number of opencast mines on the deep mines seems to have been severe, as the number of deep mines fell from 14 in 2000 to 5 by 2005.3 This paper argues that this is more than just a co-incidence. UK Coal plc inherited a system which already integrated deep mine and surface mine production and in the application for Minorca, Wardell Armstrong make this inter-dependence clear in its Socio Economic statement on UK Coal’s behalf. 4 However, the greatest degree of clarity comes from comparing the profit and loss for UK Coal plc of the different methods of production as explained in Table 2. It be can be seen that as opencast coal production declined between 2002 – 2006 it had a severe impact on increased losses at deep mines as the proportion of deep mine coal in the blend sent to generators contributed to a significant increase in the losses suffered by the deep mine operations contributing to the closure of up to 8 deep mines.

UK COAL plc: AN ALTERNATIVE REPORTPAGE 9

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