New Partner – Javelin Global Commodities “aims to ramp up its coal trading”

This is PLANNED Under the Irish Sea just five miles from Sellafield – what could go wrong? We need to STOP THIS! 

New partner for West Cumbria Mining. London-based Javelin launched in 2015 and is 34 percent owned by U.S. coal miner Murray Energy, 28 percent owned by German utility E.ON and 38 percent owned by its principal traders, some of whom were previously at Goldman Sachs…
WCM have just published this here:
“West Cumbria Mining is pleased to announce that it has entered into an exclusive marketing and offtake agreement with Javelin Global Commodities.

This agreement represents a major milestone in the development of WCM’s flagship Woodhouse Colliery project and is a key step towards a world class underground metallurgical coal mine. It also demonstrates the confidence that Javelin has in a premium UK source of steelmaking coal and the long-term market demand for this sector critical product.

The agreement will see Javelin purchasing 100% of WCM’s production output and selling this to steelmaking customers in the UK and Europe, on terms which will reduce the payment time for coal deliveries from weeks to days. The structure will free up several million pounds of working capital facility on WCM’s balance sheet, providing significant assistance during the early years of the mine’s production.

West Cumbria Mining CEO, Mark Kirkbride, commented; ‘I am delighted to be able to announce this exclusive agreement with Javelin, following on from extensive dialogue and a very clear joint objective to ensure that Cumbrian steelmaking coal is supplied into the UK and European steel industry via a world class, highly respected specialist commodity trader. This is a key step for the project, and my team and I are looking forward to working collaboratively with Javelin to demonstrate real value and innovation to our customers.’

Peter Bradley, CEO of Javelin Global Commodities, (formerly MD of Goldman Sachs) commented; ‘Javelin is very pleased to be partnering with such an outstanding mining project and with a group of management and investors that have a history of delivering world class mining operations.

I am particularly excited to introduce this strong steel making coal to the domestic UK and European export markets at a time where competitively priced feedstock is needed to support the industry in its efforts to compete with low cost imports of steel. I am confident the project will get the final funding it needs, and Javelin looks forward to supporting West Cumbria throughout the development.”

SUPERFICIALLY this is being given a most shiny PR SPIN.   But there is a lot for sceptics to take notice of.
One of our Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole colleagues has made the observations that:
“Firstly, Javelin has been going less time than WCM has.  Founded in 2015 it has a complex control and accounting structure but it is essentially a couple of city blokes backed by a German finance company and a US coal company.  Secondly, you can see from both Kirkbride’s and Bradley’s comments that they are having difficulties getting funding and for why that might be you only need to research Sirius Mineralsover in the NYMNP.  Thirdly, Javelin has picked bad’uns before, see here.  Finally, Murray Energy, the coal company, are the main backers of Javelin and they are in deep trouble.  All in all they can spin it up but this looks like desperation from both of them.”

A Postcard to Sir David Attenborough –

Dear Sir David.jpgPostcard to David Attenborough.jpg

The postcard above is a painting of the black guillemots at St Bees.

“Dear Sir David Attenborough,

Thank you for voicing opposition to the Coal Mine planned under the sea at St Bees.

West Cumbria Mining the developers have signed an exploratory agreement with your good friend Her Majesty.  New agreements with the Crown are due to be signed for exploitation of the coal under the Irish Sea.  This is the last nesting place in England of the black guillemot.  There is more information on our Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole website. Please ask Her Majesty not to sign agreements with West Cumbria Mining,

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby”

The Coal Mine and The Crown


Letter published in the Westmorland Gazette,   also sent to Sir David Attenborough

LETTER: Sir David Attenborough could stop the Cumbrian coal mine


WHAT fantastic news that Sir David Attenborough is lending his voice to those opposing the coal mine under the Irish Sea off St Bees.

As a nuclear safety group concerned about the safety of Sellafield, we have been opposing this nearby coal mine from the outset.

Sellafield is recognised as the most hazardous place in Europe with stockpiles of the most dangerous radioactive wastes on the planet. This coal mine would extend to just 8km from these nuclear wastes, so there are big concerns.

The Sellafield area has been identified in a recent geological report as being at high risk of liquefaction (where the earth turns to mush). Liquefaction can result from earthquakes, and the only place in the UK to have had such an event is at Rampside near Barrow – it was a very small-magnitude earthquake.

This March, when I stood shaking at the planning meeting in Kendal and spoke opposing the coal mine, the councillors laughed. They laughed about Sellafield being at high risk of liquefaction (as described in a recent geological report); they laughed as the last liquefaction event near Barrow was in 1865, pre Trident: the blink of an eye in geological terms.

There are other considerations. The area at St Bees is the last breeding place in England of the black guillemot and the RSPB has voiced its opposition to the mine.

Former director of Friends of the Earth, Jonathon Porritt, pointed out very early on that: “As I understand it, the sole justification from a sustainability point of view is that the extracted coal will be coking coal, not thermal coal (for use in power stations), with some preposterous notion that this will apparently produce a lower carbon footprint than coking coal imported from other countries. Yet so far as I can tell, no detailed lifecycle analysis, both direct and indirect, has been done by West Cumbria Mining…”

The coal mine would also have to mine “middlings” coal, cynically described as a by-product in order to get to the coking coal.

It seems to us there are two very powerful things Sir David Attenborough is uniquely placed to do to stop this coal mine entirely in its tracks:

1. He could ask the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, to call Cumbria County Council’s flawed decision in for a public inquiry.

2. From our correspondence with Prince Charles’ office, we believe he is sympathetic to campaigners opposing the coal mine. A quiet word from Sir David to his friend Prince Charles may be all it takes to rip up the Crown’s existing and future planned agreements with West Cumbria Mining for the mineral exploitation of the coal under the seabed. Without these agreements between the developers and the Crown, the coal mine cannot proceed.

Those actions would make Sir David our true knight in shining armour and the black guillemots would not be the only ones celebrating!

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

Good News that Sir David is On the Case!

This is an open letter to Sir David Attenborough who has recently voiced concern, and to all who have influence to stop the Cumbrian Coal mine in its tracks.

Dear Sir David Attenborough,
Thank you so much for recently voicing your concerns about the planned coal mine in West Cumbria.  
As a nuclear safety group concerned about the safety of Sellafield we have been opposing this nearby coal mine from the outset.  As you will know Sellafield is the most hazardous place in Europe with stockpiles of the most dangerous radioactive wastes on the planet. Given that this coal mine would extend to just 8km from Sellafield the possibility of liquefaction at Sellafield resulting from earthquakes in the West Cumbria area would be catastrophic on a planetary scale.  When I stood at the planning meeting and spoke to councillors about Sellafield being at high risk of liquefaction (as described in a recent geological report) they laughed.  
There are other considerations.  
The area is the last breeding place in England of the black guillemot and the RSPB have voiced opposition to the mine.  
Former Director of Friends of the Earth, Jonathon Porritt pointed out very early on that :”As I understand it, the sole justification from a sustainability point of view is that the extracted coal will be coking coal, not thermal coal (for use in power stations), with some preposterous notion that this will apparently produce a lower carbon footprint than coking coal imported from other countries. Yet so far as I can tell, no detailed lifecycle analysis, both direct and indirect, has been done by West Cumbria Mining, so why would anyone swallow that particular pile of coking crap?”    The coal mine would also have to mine ‘middlings” coal, cynically described as a ‘byproduct’ in order to get to the coking coal.
It seems to us that there are two very powerful things that you are uniquely placed to do to stop this coal mine entirely in its tracks.  

1. Ask the new Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP to call Cumbria County Council’s flawed decision in for a public inquiry.
2.   Ask Prince Charles to rip up the Crown’s existing and future planned agreements with West Cumbria Mining for the mineral exploitation of the coal under the seabed.  Without these agreements with the Crown, the coal mine cannot proceed.
This would make you our true knight in shining armour.  The black guillemots would not be the only ones celebrating!
Thank You.

Yours Sincerely,

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign


YOU can help – please sign the petition and also write to the Secretary of State asking him to call Cumbria County Council’s crazy  decision in for a public inquiry 

Excellent Letter to the Secretary of State from the WWF


The letter is below – apologies for any mistakes in copying and pasting but hopefully the gist is there.  This is reproduced with WWF’s permission.  There is no mention of the close proximity to Sellafield but otherwise it is a good letter.

To The Secretary of State via email,

Dear Secretary of State,

15 July 2019

Supplementary (second) letter concerning request for call-in: Application reference number 4/17/9007, Former Marchon Site, Pow Beck Valley and area from Marchon Site to St Bees Coast, Whitehaven, Cumbria

I write on behalf of WWF-UK further to our previous letter of 9 April 2019 seeking call-in of the above planning application, the subject of a resolution to grant planning permission by Cumbria County Council on 19th March 2019. I write this further letter to highlight important developments since our last letter relevant to your decision- making on calling in the application.

Further developments relevant to Ground One (The proposal conflicts with national policy on important matters):
1. Government decision to adopt a net zero by 2050 target
Our previous correspondence made reference to the Government’s obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008. As you will no doubt be aware, the Government recently accepted a recommendation by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) to change the target set out in s1(1) of the Act from an 80% reduction in the UK’s net carbon account from 1990 levels by 2050, to a target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As you will be aware, that important legislative change has now come into effect. The CCC has said it will move to providing detailed advice on the path to net zero, however it has stressed the need for “credible UK policies across government”.1 This echoes its report recommending a net zero target to the government, in which it states (p33):

“The net-zero challenge must be embedded and integrated across all departments, at all levels of Government and in all major decisions that impact on emissions.” Clearly the decision as to whether to call in Woodhouse Colliery is one such decision.
The CCC’s report makes other points pertinent to national policy in relation to this matter. It states (p34) that “Government must implement an approach to incentivise industries to reduce their emissions through energy and resource efficiency, electrification, hydrogen and CCS in ways that do not adversely affect their competitiveness”, which indicates that alternatives to coking steel will be required. At page 163 it refers to “further ambition options” (ie. more challenging and costly measures) from 2016 to 2050 to reduce consumption in particular areas, including demand reduction measures for industrial products such as steel which are difficult to decarbonise. On this basis it refers to a 30% reduction in the tonnage of iron and steel to be consumed in the UK between 2016 and 2050. One can reasonably expect the CCC’s upcoming advice on implementing the target to accord with its advice recommending the target. It is clear therefore that there are very significant shifts in national policy taking place that only deepen the conflict between national climate policy and this proposed project, lending further robustness to the arguments for call-in.

2. Need for coal production of this nature and impact on greenhouse gas emissions
In view of recent developments concerning the UK steel industry, we also wish to supplement the points made in our previous letter concerning coal mining and climate change. In our previous letter we referred to the “Highthorn” coal mine proposal and note that a key issue creating controversy during the planning inquiry2, court case3 and current decision-making process by the Secretary of State relating to Highthorn concerns the impact of the greenhouse gases arising from it. We further note that, similarly to the present case, a key area of concern relates to whether the proposal satisfies the test at paragraph 211 of the NPPF (set out in our previous letter) and in particular whether the benefits from it outweigh its likely environmental impacts. As in the present case, a further matter being canvassed is whether there would be an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the proposal or whether it would reduce emissions by substituting for imported coal and reducing the transport emissions from this.
There are clear parallels between these concerns and the “Woodhouse colliery” application that is the subject of this letter. The planning officer’s report (POR) in the present case concludes that the proposal is not environmentally acceptable on the basis of the test in paragraph 211 of the NPPF referred to in our previous letter despite having found that the proposal would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from importing coking coal. This is essentially because of harm from loss of ancient woodland (6.505), listed buildings and heritage assets (6.507) and landscape character (6.509). However, under the second stage of the test, the POR finds that the identified environmental harm would be outweighed by the need of the UK’s steel manufacturing industry for a secure supply of metallurgical coal, the benefit of such an indigenous supply (6.514), and local and community benefits in employment and investment terms (6.515, 6.516).

As such both the Highthorn and Woodhouse colliery cases raise questions as to the soundness of arguments that coal from the mine would necessarily substitute for imported coal, what the GHG saving from transport would be if there is arguably a substitution and whether there is really a need for the coal over the 50 year life of the site in view of the climate policy referred to in this and our previous letter. We note in this regard that the POR (6.50) assumes that if there were no need for coal then it would simply remain in the ground and would not generate GHG emissions. This however ignores the fact that substantial harm would have been caused to ecological and historic assets for no benefit, either in terms of meeting a domestic or potentially even European need, or in providing ongoing employment. In addition, by the time the mind is producing coal at capacity (ie. well into the 2020s), substantial progress will need to have been made in decarbonising the industries which would use the coal, by virtue of the requirements of the Clean Growth Strategy set out in our previous letter (see bottom of page 2 and top of page 3 of that letter). Given that the Clean Growth Strategy is based on a target that is has been further strengthened, this is even more of an imperative.
The Planning Officer’s Report notes at 6.412 that “around 180,000 tonnes of coking coal would be supplied annually to the UK steel plants at Scunthorpe and Port Talbot (360,000 tonnes total), with the remaining tonnage (just over 2 million tonnes) being transported to Redcar for onward distribution and / or export.” Yet British Steel is now in administration, with the existence of the steelworks at Scunthorpe at threat. The POR states (6.413) that there is “undoubtedly” a current demand within the UK and EU for coking coal, directly correlated to the demand for steel, although it is not possible to say how this demand will vary during the proposed lifetime of the development. It adds (6.414) that the UK government remains keen to support the steel industry and that it is therefore reasonable to assume that demand for steel and coking coal will exist both within the UK and EU for the foreseeable future. However, the reasonableness of this assumption is highly questionable given that rescue talks between the Government and British Steel failed and the company was put into receivership.
The POR takes the view that the extraction of coking coal in Whitehaven to meet European demand reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to transportation from other parts of the world and considers this an environmental benefit to be afforded moderate weight (6.502). However, there is nothing in the proposal restricting import of the coal to other European destinations only and therefore basing assumptions of greenhouse gas emissions reductions on this appears highly dubious. This is particularly the case given reports that British steel faced slumps in orders at EU level due to Brexit uncertainties, as well as being affected by the weakness of the pound since the EU referendum and US-China “trade wars”.

Further, the European steel market association global outlook 2019-20 describes the outlook for steel demand as “subdued”, stating “ that staying within these bounds without geoengineering requires the virtually complete elimination of fossil fuel emissions and fossil fuel infrastructure by 2050 and that global coal production must decline by 5886 million tonnes a year in 2015 t0 only 407 tonnes in 2050 – a reduction of around 93%.6 Given this and given the UK’s avowed global leadership on climate change- it intends to host next year’s crucial UNFCCC Conference of the Parties- pressing on with coal production on its own shores sends a particularly unwelcome signal
to the wider world.

3. Children’srights/assessmentofimpacts
WWF further consider that in weighing the impacts against benefits in accordance with paragraph 211 of the NPPF, account should be taken of, and weight afforded to the impacts on children now and in the future of construction and operation of the mine alongside any potential employment or investment benefits to the community now and in the future. As noted above, the mine will generate significant carbon emissions over the course of the next 50 years and for at least twenty years after the UK is required to meet its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target in 2050. By definition, the consequences of those emissions (eg: in terms of their contribution to global heating) and the responsibility to offset them (where necessary) to meet the new 2050 target will fall disproportionately on the young, impacting on their human rights including Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In the case of DA & DS v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions  the Supreme Court held that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) aids interpretation of the ECHR and requires public authorities to treat a child’s best interests as a primary consideration. In a case such as this, the legal duties referred to require that the differential impact on children of climate change (and related impacts such as air quality) should be specifically considered both in the planning application process and at inquiry. Given the failure to make any assessment of impacts on children during the application process, the case for consideration at inquiry is simply strengthened.

It is also worth noting that a decline in global coal production is inherent in limiting global temperature increase to 1.5C. Modelling released on this by a group of 20
The base case scenario for the
development of final steel use shows only marginal growth in 2019 and 2020. Given the uncertainty that currently surrounds the EU steel market in terms of
researchers indicates

We consider that it is necessary to call in the application to ensure proper testing of all of the above arguments and those made by us previously, which will have long term consequences of national importance. It is also important to ensure consistency with the same arguments as are currently under consideration in the Highthorn case. In our view, these factors lead to a clear conclusion that, to echo the most recent Ministerial statement relating to call-in this decision needs to be taken by the Secretary of State and is not best left with the local planning authority.

Yours faithfully
Debbie Tripley
Director of Advocacy WWF-UK

Politicians Virtue Signalling over Cumbrian Coal Mine.. while back in 2017 they were rooting tooting for it

A personal view from Marianne….

The recent video from Cumbria Action for Sustainability made me do a double take.  Not one of the politicians on the panel had the decency to tell the truth about their party’s role in the unanimous approval by Cumbrian planners for the Cumbrian Coal Mine.  Not one of the eloquent and opinion forming folk on the panel were at the planning meeting to oppose the mine.  Why?  Well read on…

In 2017 ALL the parties in Copeland enthusiastically stated their support for the coal mine at the  Whitehaven Election Hustings. Most shocking for me that night was the Green Party support, I had gone along with a friend to support the Green Party at the Hustings.   It was this Green Party support FOR the coal mine along with the gushing support from ALL other political parties in Copeland that made it nearly impossible for the only group formed as a result of that night, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, to gain momentum or even be listened to.

The Green Party in Copeland did eventually see that the plan is a bad idea and they did eventually write in opposition.    This history is important as we need to know why the councillors unanimously approved the decision and why there was a dead hand on any campaigning against it. Despite the council’s unanimous approval (they are not solely to blame for the decision) this is not a done deal. Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole continue to vehemently oppose this plan (as they have done from the start despite the early Green support). People can write to the new Secretary of State , the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP and ask him to call the decision in for full scrutiny in a public inquiry. There is also a petition here ….

Here is the recent video from CaFS (who despite being lobbied by us to say something to oppose the mine were silent).

I know this calling out is not the way to win friends and influence people (why I am not in PR)  but history and the well orchestrated reasons why the coal mine attracted so little opposition in the years ahead of the decision is important.  It was only the intervention of climate scientist Laurie Michaelis that finally persuaded some local climate activists that the coal mine was actually a thing they should be worried about.   I dislike the ethics of telling young people they will die of climate change while the nuclear industry that is demonstrably inflicting death and destruction right now,  is being promoted by most of the panelists featured in this video as a ‘solution’ (the official stats say that one in two of those young people will develop cancer and that doesn’t include the stats on other radiation linked diseases).

It is brilliant that people are now signalling their opposition to the mine but this needs to be translated into action – writing to the new Secretary of State (just checking for right SoS address ) and asking him to call in the decision is a good starting point.











“Mayor Hits Back at Mine Protestors”

Whitehaven NEWS

Mayor hits back at mine protesters

How the mine will look

How the mine will look

THE elected Mayor of Copeland has insisted the council is “fully signed up to the climate change agenda” despite opposition to his pro-mine stance.

Mike Starkie made the comments after campaigners opposed to a £165m mine planned for West Cumbria descended on Whitehaven over the weekend.

The plans have been ‘called in’ by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron amid environmental concerns, but Mr Starkie is among those calling for the challenge to be thrown out by the Government.

Protestors from Extinction Rebellion marched from Haig Pit museum to Copeland council’s Market Hall to express their concerns, though the plans were agreed at county level.

West Cumbria Mining wants to extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells were given the go-ahead in March.

Speaking at a meeting of the executive, major Mike Starkie insisted that the council was working hard – alongside other local authorities in the county – to make Cumbria carbon neutral.

But he also took aim at some of the protestors who he said were “not local” and had “probably travelled here in their diesel cars, putting all the carbon emissions into the air en route.”

Mr Starkie said the only disturbance caused by the campaigners was to members of the Whitehaven public who were “absolutely disinterested” with anything they had to say.

The mayor reiterated his “100 per cent unequivocal support for the mine” in the face of opposition.

He also described the planning process as “rigorous” and stressed that “everything was considered” in the run-up the county council planning panel’s decision.

He added: “And I am going to once again call on the Government to throw out the call in as soon as possible.

“At the end of the day there is a climate change agenda that we’re 100 per cent bought into and we are absolutely understand, but there is an economic agenda as well – and we need a balance.

“We need renewable energy and the last time I checked you still need steel for the windmills and that’s what the coking coal is being mined to produce.”

Mr Farron and Workington MP Sue Hayman, who is the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, are the only two of the county’s six MPS who have not written to the Government to get this ‘call in’ thrown out.

Copeland’s green credentials.

Copeland has hosted the first commercially operative nuclear power station (Sellafield) that powered the nation through low-carbon energy supply for almost 50 years;

In 2018/19, the council invested £1 million into our doorstop recycling service and collected 3,354 tonnes of recycling – doubling the previous years’ collection;

The council is signatories of the Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy Commitment which commits local authorities in Cumbria to become a net-zero carbon county.

The authority has pledged to reduce its climate footprint by 1.6 per cent every year – in line with statutory commitments in the Climate Change Act of 2008.”

Read In the Whitehaven News here