Approval for £175m Cumbria coal mine

Posted: March 21, 2019 by oldbrew in Energy, News

An artist’s impression of Woodhouse Colliery (Credit: West Cumbria Mining)

The ‘new-found energy realism of Cumbrian councillors’ has been praised by the GWPF and others, but has predictably dismayed hardline climate miserablists..

Cumbria County Council has backed plans for a £175m metallurgical coal mine on a brownfield site near Whitehaven with work set to get under way by the end of the year, reports Place North West.

The plans by West Cumbria Mining cover mineral extraction over 50 years over a 689-acre site running to and beyond the St Bees coast, along with associated development such as the refurbishment of two existing drifts leading to two new underground drifts; coal storage and processing buildings; office and change building, an access road, ventilation, power and water infrastructure and landscaping.

There is also provision for a coal loading facility and railway sidings linked to the Cumbrian Coast railway line with adjoining office and welfare facilities, along with the extension of railway underpass and permanent access on land off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck Valley. The intention is for coal to be moved entirely by rail to UK steel making and port destinations.

The project sits within the West Cumbrian coalfield and is next to the former Haig Colliery, which was a working mine between 1914 and 1986.

Once construction of the mine is completed and Woodhouse Colliery moves into the operational phase, the company plans to extract and process around 2.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year to supply into UK and European steel-making coal plants, which currently import around 45 million tonnes per annum from USA, Canada, Russia and Australia.

Following yesterday’s planning approval, work is expected to start on the scheme before the end of the year, with coal production starting around two years later. WCM will continue to work with the county council to progress through pre-construction and construction stages.

Responding to environmental concerns raised by local groups, WCM said that the local environment will benefit from the remediation of a significant portion of the site, with over 18 acres of wildlife habitats to be created.

In addition, it said that the ongoing risk of flooding in Sandwith village will be eliminated and any existing contaminant escape risks from the southern part of the site will be removed due to the proposed remediation strategy.

Full report here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    WCM claims the facility will add £1.8bn to the UK’s GDP in its first ten years, while accounting for £2.5bn worth of exports and directing £500m of tax to the country’s government over the same period.

    Its mine has a minimum planned operational lifespan of 40 years and will extract underground and offshore coal reserves, which will then be transported using a buried 2.2km conveyor to a train-loading facility.

    The company hopes to “ultimately realise our vision of becoming a leading European producer of high quality metallurgical coal for steel-making”.

  2. ivan says:

    What are the greenpeas getting all upset about? I assume it is because advancing technology and industry doesn’t fit their idea middle ages bliss.

    Very good of the council to approve this in the face of protests from the green blob. One thing I don’t understand is the ongoing risk of flooding in Sandwith village. Why is there a risk of flooding, or is it to placate the worriers of supposed sea level rise because of global warming?

  3. oldbrew says:

    ivan – see here…

    Sandwith Flood Investigation Report

    Click to access 41765163924.pdf

    Cumbria is well-known as a high rainfall area.
    – – –
    Flooding and mines – not good.

  4. ivan says:

    Thanks oldbrew, it appears that the village flooding was/is an accident waiting to happen – water going through a culvert that isn’t checked and cleaned at least once a year is asking for floods. In my area of the Pyrenees the roads have quite large ditches to catch the water from the higher hillside – those ditches are cleaned out every year before the wet period by the local equipement. It can get rather wet here (30mm rain in 2 hours measured by my met station) because of runoff from the mountains – the stairway beside my house can, and does, have up to 100 mm (4 inches) of water flowing down it missing every other step and the road is built with a concrete channel down the middle to help get rid of the water. The culverts in the village are 3 metres wide and 2.5 metres high and exit direct to the river – they only get used for about 3 months of the year but are kept clean.

    Flooding and mines is definitely not good but I think these people will have thought if this anyway.

    The main thing we should be celebrating is that the council passed the development which is a win for the sensible people.

  5. stpaulchuck says:

    it’s already a brownfield. If things are done right, the mine could mitigate most or all of the area in stages over time and put the site back to ‘clean’. It’s been done before as part of the land use contract.

    Of course that would take it away from the environazis as some sort of Luddite icon of “bad” because of modern living.

  6. oldbrew says:

    the company plans to extract and process around 2.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year to supply into UK and European steel-making coal plants

    Coal > steel > wind turbines 🤔