A proposed coal mine project in Cumbria that was controversially greenlit by the government last year is set to undergo further scrunity, after the County Council revealed it would no longer rely on a previous decision made in support of the project. The mine would be the first deep coal mine in the UK in approximately 30 years and could produce up to 2.1 million tonnes of metallurgical coal annually for 50 years. Cumbria County Council gave permission to West Cumbria Mining to go ahead with the £165m deep coal mine more than a year ago. But in February, the High Court granted permission to local campaign group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole for a judicial review of the council’s decision to grant planning permission, following a report from the Green Alliance that argued the proposed mine was incompatible with the UK’s climate ambitions. That challenge was dropped last month, after West Cumbria Mining updated its plans to ensure that only metallurgical coal, used for steelmaking, would be exported from the mine. Previously, the miner intended for 15 per cent of the mine’s output to be middlings coal, a lower quality material largely used for power generation, brick manufacturing units, and cement plants. Rebecca Wills, author of the Green Alliance report, noted last week on Twitter that the latest developments were “good but bad”. “Good because it no longer has planning permission,” she wrote. “Bad because – under pressure from a lot of media coverage – they’ve abandoned the worst aspects of the previous application, eg. the claim the mine is, ahem, ‘carbon neutral’.” West Cumbria Mining contends the proposed mine is necessary to meet demand for coal to produce metallurgical steel, and that a domestic mine is more carbon efficient than importing coal for steelmaking from other countries.
Business Green 2nd June 2020 read more »