Deep mines/collierys

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by theboywonder, 26 Nov 2011.

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  1. theboywonder

    theboywonder Member

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    Does anyone think there is a future for deep mines or have they had there day?

    With there being many millions of tonnes of the black stuff still down there to mine why dont they mine our coal instead of getting coal imported

    I can remember at least 20 mines in Northumberland but as u know there no longer with us
     
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  3. Paul Sidorczuk

    Paul Sidorczuk Veteran Member

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    I saw a recent magazine article where it is said that there are probably still viable deep-mine coal workings in Scotland with good long-term reserves. How true this is, I cannot say.
     
  4. klambert

    klambert Established Member

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    I have heard they've been thinking about re-opening workings around Neath
     
  5. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Unless the price of coal increases substantially then I would have to say in the short term there isn't much future for coal mining in this country simply because it still remains much cheaper to import the coal we need than pay the higher labour costs in the UK and also the significant costs of reopening mines.
     
  6. Yew

    Yew Established Member

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    Quite a few pits closed not because they ran out of coal, but because mining to the next seam was too expensive.


    It's just a shame they had to be completely demolished, making the resuming of mining pretty hard as the headstocks had gone, and the mines full of concrete
     
  7. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    Just to add to that, in the 80s the costs of imported coal from Eastern Europe was such that it was cheaper to deliver to the doorstep, than it was to actually raise the coal to the pithead.

    In addition this was a period when central heating was being introduced in the new houses and there were plenty of enticements for people to transfer from traditional coal fires to central heating. I think those who believe that coal fires are a good thing have never been brought up in a house where the only heating came from coal fires, a paraffin heater, or later a portable gas or electric heater.

    Coal was also at that time a "dirty" fuel and nuclear fuelled power stations and hydro-electric generation were seen as the best way forward.

    A lot of heavy manufacturing Industries were also being overtaken by cheaper more efficient European manufactured products, which were produced by modernised factories subsidised illegally by EU Countries such as France, Germany, and Italy. In the case of cars and domestic goods the public went out of their way to buy foreign rather than English manufactured goods which effectively destroyed those Industries and which in turn led to the reduction of steel production, which in turn again led to a reduction in the demand for coal.

    It was all a spiral of decline led by consumers and not by any Political malice despite what some on here would have you think.

    The facts are available to anyone who cares to read them.

    So we have a situation of a declining market for coal, which in any case itself is threatened by cheaper imports which are being bought by consumers.

    After 1997, rather than face up to a long term solution, Labour went down the route of encouraging gas-powered power stations because they had signed up to more stringent pollution reduction targets than anyone else, and in any case had prepared secret plans for an extension to the purchase of french nuclear produced electricity.

    The one factor that was not considered because it was in the too hard file, was that of the ever increasing demand for electricity brought about by more electrical goods in the home, and more demands from new office blocks and high-tech engineering companies which had been brought about by the rising economy inherited from the Conservative Government.

    Many coal mines have been quietly closed since 1997 by Labour without even a murmur by the Trades Unions.

    So far it is believed that the UK coal industry can provide 18million tonnes per year for coal fired power stations, which represents about 10% of the electricity produced in the UK. This figure naturally excludes electricity brought in from France.

    It is argued that there is around 350 years worth of coal still in the ground however much of it would be expensive to mine, a lot of mines would require continual pumping, and in any case there would be very strong social and environment protests were some of these coal resources to be mined.

    What is clear however is that by 2015 there will be more electricty demand than there is availability to produce or import, and as a result of Labour's burying its head in the sand, there is no way that new stations can be brought online in time.
     
  8. theboywonder

    theboywonder Member

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    Its a shame none of the coal companys invest in some deep mines giving the current state of unemployment at the minute but as u said theyve got to get backing from the councils and people in the area which would be hard to get these days plus try and compete with imports
     
  9. Pumbaa

    Pumbaa Established Member

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    It's a non brainer. Shale gas is where the industry is looking toward. Coal mining will continue small scale to provide fuel for Aga's and kettles, but that's about it. It certainly won't grow.
     
  10. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    The UK coal industry peaked just before World War One, and has been in decline ever since. At that time there was huge demand for coal to power ships, locomotives, and every office, home and school had coal fires.

    There would have to be a massive change for coal to make anything more than a very limited comeback. Although it may be economically worthwhile to open small scale workings where demand in a niche market can be met.
     
  11. wensley

    wensley Established Member

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    Mining operations only became prohibitively expensive in the '80s because the pits hadn't seem enough investment from the NCB. There is still estimated to be 30 years of coal reserves under the North Sea. Thanks to a certainy Iron Lady it won't ever see the light of day. Criminal.
     
  12. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    They didn;t become prohibitively expensive really, they became uneconomic! Which, inr eality, is much the same thing - the government of the time refused to pump more money into what they saw as a dying industry.

    My opinion is that that was a the wrong decision - the price that has been paid in terms of destroyed communities, unemployment, drug abuse and all the rest is too high.

    I think the cas eof Tower Colliery in South Wales proves that the future for many pits was a lot brighter than was thought.
     
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