Mining contractor West Cumbria Mining has plans to create a coking coal mine near Whitehaven. This will help to create more than 500 jobs in the region.
The mining company stated that there are over 750 million tonnes of coal just off the coast, close to Whitehaven, and it intends to mine 2 to 3 million tonnes of semi-soft to hard coking coal annually. West Cumbria Mining plans to sell the coking coal to steel companies across the UK and Europe.
West Cumbria Mining CEO Mark Kirkbride stated that the recent slump witnessed by the steel industry has not had an effect on the company’s plans. He pointed out that there is a steady increase in the overall demand and requirement for steel, with Europe being the main market for the company as it is currently one of the biggest steel makers. He also stated that the UK still has Scunthorpe and Port Talbot, so the company has forecasted a long-term positive market for its coking coal.
West Cumbria Mining has completed the feasibility study for the project, and the plans of the company have been displayed in Whitehaven. Locals have been studying the plans and designs, and some have raised concerns about the impact that coal mining would have on the environment and local landscape. Others are sceptical about the volume of coal that West Cumbria Mining states is present in the area. However, a majority of local people are very happy to get a new major employer as until now they were relying on Sellafield Ltd for employment opportunities.
One local resident stated that it is wonderful that West Cumbria Mining is going to develop a new project in the region as it will bring back jobs to the area and encourage young people to stay there.
West Cumbria Mining intends to file an application early next year, and if approved, the company hopes to start mining from 2019.