Comments on: Open letter calls for coal mine moratorium and public inquiry as Energy Minister refuses to meet impacted communities Sat, 30 Nov 2013 17:32:20 +0000 hourly 1
By: Zeus Fri, 05 Jul 2013 19:41:30 +0000 What’s the plan now?

By: Eric Thornton Tue, 25 Jun 2013 20:40:45 +0000 Public Interest

Over the last month the world price of thermal coal has dropped a further 4 to 6% this is on top of a world thermal coal price decrease over the last 18 month of 22%. This decrease in the world price of thermal coal is feeding through to the UK coal market the impact of this decrease in price is that opencast mining in the UK is unviable.

This decrease in thermal coal price will probably bottom out over the next 6 month however the low thermal coal price is forcast to continue for the next three years. Two of the factors behind this fall in price is a slowdown in demand from China and a switching from coal to gas in the US to generate electricity this is a result of a gas surplus brought about by fracking.

Some of the main world coal producers i.e. Rio Tinto, Glencor, BHP are closing mines or cutting back on production these mines have operating costs far less tha UK mines and mostly operate in a climate where the conditions imposed on the mining companys are by far less onerous than in the UK. If these companys canot show a profit whilst mining strip ratios less than half that being mined in the UK then either their financial model is wrong or the UK mining companys are in cuckoo land.

For the local authorities to licence any more mine sites or to allow the existing mines to continue mining is a dereliction of duty, without a full and final assesment of the the total restoration costs and bonds to be put in place that will cover this cost. It is not the local athorities place to stop these mining companys loosing money however the authorities are legaly and duty bound to protect the rate payers from undue costs as they now face from the demise of ATH and Scotish Coal.

If by some chance that the Uk coal mining companys are allowed to carry on mining then any delay in restoration of sites must not be tolerated.

To assist in this and ensure that the restoration is carried out in a timely manner then an additional clause needs to be included in the permit to mine. This clause would allow the granter of the mining permit i.e. local council the right to call in the bond and proceed to have the restoration carried out by a third party contractor under the direct control of the authorityand any subsequent short falls in capital to cary out the restoration to be recovered from the mining contractor who recived the mining permit.

What role is the body who represents the mining companys playing in this fiasco are they not aware of the low coal prices??

Public Interest