The following article appeared in the Financial Times on the 19th June. The article aims to justify the Cumbrian coal mine by the statement that there is a “Global Demand” for Coking Coal. This is however unsupported by the fact of an “overcapacity” of coking coal in China (and elsewhere) where coking mines are being closed..market prices are set artificially high to offset “overcapacity.”
Global Demand For Coking Coal Set To Revive UK Coal Mining
Pit to employ more than 500 and export about 80% of its output
Two years after Britain’s last deep coal mine closed, a £200m project in Cumbria wants to revive the industry.
West Cumbria Mining (WCM) plans to extract high value metallurgical — or coking — coal used for steelmaking rather than the cheaper version used in power stations.
It will use existing tunnels at a disused drift mine to access undersea resources off the coast of St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven. Mark Kirkbride, chief executive, said the mine could open by the end of 2019.
“Metallurgical coal was the best performing commodity of 2016,” said Mr Kirkbride. “There is no source of it in Europe.” Poland produces some lower grade coking coal. Prices leapt to $300 a tonne but have since slipped back as China ramps up production.
He is budgeting for $120 a tonne initially and $140 over the long term. Production costs would be $57 a tonne.
The mine has said it will employ more than 500 people and export around 80 per cent of its output. Helen Davies, a spokeswoman, said that it would reduce the area’s dependence on Sellafield, the nuclear reprocessing plant for jobs.
“We have had 95 per cent support from the local community in responses to our consultations. Some 1,600 people have registered an interest in jobs. They include over 80 with experience underground. They really want to teach a new generation,” she said.