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Book 8 The 21st Century


2016 - And Beyond

Opencast Sites Are in Decline in the UK

In 2014 there were 26 Opencast sites, mainly in Scotland and these declined rapidly into 2016.

Output has fallen every year since 2010 Broken Cross in South Lanarkshire Duncanziemere, House of Water and Netherton in Ayrshire. St Ninians and Muir Dean in Fife and Glenmuckloch in Dumfriesshire. When 13 million tons produced.

Muir Dean (From Wikipedia)

Year England Wales Scotland GB total
2014 2,884,935 2,488,321 2,497,014 7,870,270
2013 3,411,955 2,342,812 2,829,155 8,583,922
2012 2,956,331 2,408,313 4,823,357 10,188,001
2011 2,948,997 2,102,995 5,527,765 10,579,757
2010 2,599,941 4,423,295 6,038,479 13,061,715

Table from Wikipedia

Banks Group plans to open a surface coal mine in 2018 having secured Planning Permission for the site which is at Highthorn in Northumberland expected to produce 3 million tons of coal over approx. 6 years.

Small Mines in the Forest of Dean

Industrial Railway Society Bulletin no.983, Jan 2017, pp.10-12 provided updates on "all existing freeminers drift mines with railways" in October 2016 and listed the following:

Haywood Drift, Cinderford: operating.

Prospector Mine, Harry Hill, Fairplay: development abandoned 2014 but might reopen.

Morses Level, Mallands Pike:maintained.

Wallsend Colliery, Mallards Pike: operating.

Monument Mine, Bixslade: operating.

Phoenix Mine, Cannop: maintained but not producing.

Hopewell Mine, Cannop: operating recently.

Hopewell Museum, Cannop: now closed for winter.

New Road Level, Cannop: emergency exit to Hopewell Museum mine only.

Hamblins Gale Mine, Wimberry Slade: disused.

Buckholt Mine, Ladyslade: on care and maintenance.

Worcester Colliery, Wimberry Slade: not worked for some years.

Reddings Level, Eddys Road, Ruardean: sealed, but plans to reopen.

It is instructive to compare the above with the three collieries listed in the latest edition of "Digest of UK Energy Statistics" which was dated 2016 on the cover, published mid year, and contained on p.61 a list of collieries corrected to the Coal Authority to 31 December 2015 (; only two Forest of Dean collieries were listed:

Monument Colliery: on care and maintenance.

Reddings Level No.2 Mine: on care and maintenance.

I believe that the reason the Coal Authority omits most Forest of Dean collieries is that most areas of this coalfield do not require licensing by the Coal Authority and, although I believe the Authority is notified of all coal production, it only lists collieries it licenses. So the number of collieries remaining in the UK is actually 14 which is almost double the 8 listed in DUKES 2016 (5 operating and 3 on care and maintenance as at 31 December 2015):

Operating (7): Ayle (Northumberland), Eckington (Derbyshire), Haywood, Hilltop, Hopewell, Monument, Wallsend - the last five are all in Gloucestershire.

On care and Maintenance (7): Aberpergwm (Neath Valley), Buckholt (Glos), Dan y Graig No.4 (Neath Valley), Morses (Glos), Nant Hir No.2 (Neath Valley), Phoenix (Glos), Reddings Level No.2 (Glos).

There is also one proposed new colliery: New Crofton Co-op Colliery (West Yorkshire).  

South Wales

The two small drift mines at Aberpergwm have not produced anthrasite coal for about 12 months and are probably awaiting orders - 2017/18

North Derbyshire

The drift mine at Eckington was closed for a short period of time but at this date, July 2018, it continues to be operational.

Demolition of Headgears

Thoresby closed in July 2015 and one Headgear was demolished in Feb / March 2018 and the second a few weeks later.

Kellingley 1st Headgear demolished in Nov 2017 and the 2nd Headgear was demolished 2 July 2018, although the mine closed in December 2015.

See video on BBC

Closure of Thoresby Colliery, BBC East Midlands News 10 July 2015