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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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New mining project engages community

THE company looking to extract up to three million tonnes of coal a year from a proposed new drift mine near Haig Pit has ruled out moving it by road.

by Margaret Crosby

It has turned its focus on existing rail links and to shipping from the Port of Workington, though nothing is yet decided.

West Cumbria Mining Ltd, via its Whitehaven Coking Coal Project, is looking to engage the local community in its plans and this week held a well attended two-day exhibition, at Whitehaven on Tuesday and at St Bees on Wednesday, setting out its agenda.

Among those who turned up were several seasoned miners who had worked 30 or 40 years down Haig Pit. Reactions in the main were favourable. Most welcomed the proposed £15million investment and the prospect of 500 new jobs, while others had concerns about the environmental impact.

On hand was Mark Kirkbride, chief executive of West Cumbria Mining, who said: “This has the potential to bring significant economic benefits to the area, including high quality new jobs. We are committed to maximising local resources and skills and recruiting locally wherever possible.”

Discussions have begun with Copeland councillors. The company’s intention is to start with four onshore drilling holes this September and carry out environmental and social studies. In spring 2015 an offshore drilling programme would be undertaken to confirm the quality of seams.

Mining techniques have moved on since Haig closed in 1986. Remote coal cutting machines are used together with computer controlled supports and equipment to ensure safety.

The coking coal extracted would be for steelmaking.

The drift mine method is likely though shaft access has not been ruled out. The mine would be located between the south of Whitehaven and the north of St Bees.

Have your say

The coal will be used for steelmaking, is that so, and where do we make steel now???? Oh yes, we don't it's imported from China, we don't make steel, so therefore why do we need to mine the coal? - answer - we don't, yet again, something not needed.

Posted by Anne on 18 July 2014 at 17:19

Really good news for the west coast, but once again that old devil environmental concerns raises its ugly head,just hope that common sense wins over these people who have nothing better to do than try and stop inward investment in to the area. I'm pretty sure that nowadays there are enough rules and regulations that are in place for the mining industry that any concerns will be covered and dealt with, without any protests causing meaningless delays and possible pull outs by prospective businesses

Posted by Mike on 17 July 2014 at 16:35

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