Bringing Coal Mining Back to the UK

Cody Good
Coal mining Zoolander
Courtesy of Tenor

It looks like UK Tory’s may find coal in their stockings this year after their latest attempt to attract investment and create jobs.
What happened: Led by the esteemed Boris Johnson Liz Truss Rishi Sunak, the Tory party approved the development of a new $275 million dollar coal mine earlier this week.

  • Once complete, the mine is expected to produce nearly 3 million tonnes of coking coal for the steel industry which—unless it is exported—has the potential to displace about 65 percent of the UK’s annual coal imports.

People are miffed, gutted, and every other British way of saying mad

Caroline Lucas from the UK’s Green Party said the Conservatives have approved a “climate-busting, backward-looking, stranded asset coal mine” akin to a “climate crime against humanity”.

  • Tell the people how you really feel, Caroline.

While this marks the UK’s first coal mine approval in about 30 years, the country’s domestic coal production has also fallen by 94 percent over the last 10 years, along with a 76 percent reduction in consumption.

Coal consumption in the UK, 2000-21

Courtesy of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2022

Zoom out and mind the gap: For those on the global stage, the UK’s approval of a coal mine sends a hypocritical signal from a country that has otherwise advocated for the phase out of coal around the world—particularly as phasing down coal was central to the COP26 conference hosted in Glasgow last year. For other’s it confirms that processes like steelmaking still require a good lump of coal to get made, no matter what Caroline says.

We’ll see if opposition parties can prevent the mine from happening.