Controversial plans for the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years face losing financial backing as uncertainty over the project drags on, The Independent has learned. Proponents of the proposal for a new coal mine in Whitehaven, Cumbria claim it will create 500 new jobs in a region facing economic decline. However, leading academics and activists say the project is incompatible with climate targets and that green investment in the region could create many more jobs than a new coal mine. Financial documents seen by The Independent show that “uncertainty” caused by the public inquiry has put the project at risk of losing the support of its principal backer. Recent records filed by West Cumbria Mining, the firm behind the project, state that the principal shareholder, the Singapore-based EMR Capital Investment, may drop its support of the project “due to the uncertainty of both the length and outcome of the public inquiry”. The documents also show that the company has implemented a “cost-saving programme” in response to the inquiry announcement. Under this programme, “all members of staff have been served notice, office accommodation vacated and all expenditure, other than that which relates to the public inquiry, has been halted”, according to the records. A campaigner at Friends of the Earth said the documents raised questions about whether the firm could meet its promise of providing jobs for locals.
Independent 21st Aug 2021 read more »