...played in Margam a few years back (think it was about 2000). I lost a bet to a Dutchman as I didn't believe him when he told me and thought he'd misinterpreted something he;'d heard in English (I thought I was going easy on him by not raising the stakes). In my defence, I had an image of Dame John playing some working mens' club - all brown ale, flat caps and bawdy rugby songs - but it was actually Margam Park, which I gather is rather green and pleasant. My lack of greed saved me a fair bit! Just thought I'd share that with you.
RE: Wales ...
Speaking as someone who once worked for a certain steel giant and was based at their site in Port Talbot, I can assure you that one of the reasons for locating such sites so close to the coast is for the importation of raw materials. Now due to the irresponsibly myopic policies of past governments, much of that now constitutes coal (for coking as well as power, of course). We DIDN"T (by we I'm referring to self-obsessed ignoramuses) think it was a good idea and now we're paying the price (but what the hell - we've sold everything off to overseas investors / companies anyway!).
except that your logic is back to front. cost to produce coal in a developed western country vs impoverished nation. Which is cheaper? cost to purchase coal in a remote country (with limited imports) vs a western country with good infrastructure? which has access to cheaper coal? which country has more environmental restrictions particularly re surface mining? if you can answer the above questions correctly then not sure how you would deduce that producing coal in the UK would be a better bet. Have a great weekend and enjoy holding onto your EDL shares we know you love them
Thank you for your interesting posts. I heard a few years back that the UK had enough coal to last at the then current use, for 400 years. I guess, though like oil, the easy or should I say cheap bulk has gone, and now it is more costly to extract. Yet, once all the cheap coal is gone, our day will come. My point was, or is, though, EDL coal is in a more remote, and poorer place (Gogsythethen excepted), and with the UK's huge population and even huger power consumption, then mining here would seem to be a better bet. Yet until cheap imports end, then no-one is going to pay more for the same product. EDL seems a slower burner than nutty slack.
white lad 2
Also in South Wales, work has now started to reopen the Unity mine on the back of similar commercial considerations. The most dramatic recent news is that UK Coal now expect to reopen Harworth colliery in Nottinghamshire with an investment which will run to over Â£100m. The mine was mothballed in 2006. An exploration programme is currently being undertaken to provide added assurance on the reserves that the reopened mine will exploit but there is a reasonable level of confidence that the project will proceed. All of the above are steam coal mines with the bulk of their output destined for power stations. However, the increase in international coking coal prices has been even more dramatic. The UK still has some coking coal reserves and a licence has been awarded to the Corus Group with a view to the development of a brand new deep coking mine at Margam in South Wales, adjacent to Port Talbot steelworks. This shows that, in the right combination of circumstances, there is potential for the development of new deep mine capacity. This resurgence of interest and investment has brought a new confidence to the deep mined coal industry in the UK. Whilst it is in the nature of things that there will be ups and downs in output due to variations in geology, there is now a reasonable expectation that deep mined output will increase to over 10m tonnes a year, and capable of being sustained at that level into the 2020's. But it is not just the deep-mined industry that is undergoing a resurgence. Output from surface mines has fallen from a peak of 21m tonnes in 1991 to less than 9m tonnes last year for two main reasons. First, low international coal prices until recently have reduced the volume of available reserves at a ratio that could be economically exploited. Second, the industry has had great difficulty in gaining access to these reserves because of the planning system. It is not just the proportion of applications that have been refused that is the problem. Delays in getting decisions, and as a result of going through the appeal process, mean that operators have had difficulty in the timely replacement of sites as they complete coaling. Whilst some sites have a life of a decade or so, most have much shorter lives, typically about three years. The industry therefore has to run very fast just to stand still. Now things are changing on both fronts. The increase in international coal prices means that higher ratio sites can now be worked economically.
your level of ignorance is strong today It is well known that the UK has a long history of coal mining. Output peaked as long ago as 1913 at nearly 300m tonnes. At that time all coal produced in the UK was from deep mines. Surface coal mining began in the 1940's, initially as an emergency measure during the Second World War to increase national output, and peaked at 21m tonnes in 1991. What is less well known is that the UK still has significant economic coal reserves. The assessment of the volume of economic coal reserves is fraught with difficulty at any time but it will vary with the prevailing price of coal. What is clear is that the dramatic rise in international prices over the last four years (figure 1) has increased the interest of UK operators in exploiting more reserves and of investors in UK coal mining prospects The market for coal in the UK has been strong in recent years averaging 60m tonnes, with consumption at power stations accounting for some 50m tonnes. Whilst there may be some decline in the market due to environmental pressures, UK coal consumption will significantly exceed UK production under any likely scenario. This means that UK coal producers can sell every tonne that they can produce, and more, and provides them with a huge opportunity to profitably increase production. UK coal production has fallen to some 16m tonnes a year, about half deep mined and half surface. However, against such a strong market background, firm investment plans are now in place for all of the UK's ongoing deep mines and some closed deep mines are in varying stages of being reopened. There is also renewed activity in the surface mine sector with operators actively seeking to increase output. In the UK there are six large deep mines in production. Four of these have investment programmes in place, or planned, to extend their lives. In total, some tens of millions of pounds are involved to develop into new seams or into new areas in seams that have already been worked. A fifth, Welbeck Colliery, will close around the end of next year due to exhaustion of reserves. The sixth large deep mine is a special case. The Hatfield mine in Yorkshire has been reopened and recommenced production in January of this year. The total investment involved is over Â£100m and output is now being built up to an expected level of some 2m tonnes a year. Associated with the mine is a proposal to construct an adjacent power station which will use gasified coal as its fuel source with carbon capture and storage. It will thus eventually operate with near zero carbon emissions and will be "clean" in all other respects. The Hatfield mine is the first, but not the only example of a major resurgence in the UK deep mine coal industry. In South Wales, the Aberpergwm mine also reopened some time ago but output there is now being increased in response to strong demand and high international coal prices.
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