7 December 2022

Whitehaven coking coal mine approved

The UK government has approved the controversial plans for a Cumbrian coal mine.

glowing coal
© Nikolay Kovalenko/Unsplash

Today, Secretary of State Michael Gove gave permission for a new underground metallurgical coal mine and associated development including:

  • the refurbishment of two existing drifts leading to two new underground drifts; coal storage and processing buildings; office and change building; access road; ventilation, power and water infrastructure; security fencing; lighting; outfall to sea; surface water management system and landscaping at the former Marchon site (High Road) Whitehaven;
  • a new coal loading facility and railway sidings linked to the Cumbrian Coast Railway Line with adjoining office / welfare facilities; extension of railway underpass; security fencing; lighting; landscaping; construction of a temporary development compound, and associated permanent access on land off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck Valley, south of Whitehaven;
  • a new underground coal conveyor to connect the coal processing buildings with the coal loading facility.

The decision is, the government say based on the public enquiry held in 2021 and the belief that there is a UK and European market for the coal. There has been much debate over the value of the coal as UK steel bosses have said the output is not suitable for UK processes.