In The News - West Cumbria Mining


I’m sure many recipients of this e-mail are closet readers of The Daily Mail. Let’s face it, who doesn’t occasionally like to dip into the online edition for some celebrity gossip and fashion news? It also has a business section; as the paper shifts 1.2m print copies per day and its website is one of the most viewed in the world, it is considered the ‘holy grail’ for companies to get a write-up in. Well, yesterday there was a feature article on West Cumbria Mining***, a private company that RFC Ambrian is advising, which is developing a coking coal project in Whitehaven on the north-west coast of England.

Once you get through the slightly slushy stuff about CEO Mark Kirkbride, the article highlights the project’s ambitions and the long history of coal mining in the area. The aim is to start production of coking coal before the end of this decade to supply the European steel industry via the ports in Teesside. While this may seem ambitious given that the UK coal industry has been a story of managed decline since the 1980s (emphasised by the closure of the last deep pit mine at Kellingley in 2015), this was thermal coal; the economics at West Cumbria will be quite different. West Cumbria Mining’s project will be a low-cost, high-quality coking coal operation with significant freight and logistic advantages over North American and Australian competitors in terms of shipping product to the European market. It’s an exciting story.

After the success Sirius Minerals had in raising capital for its polyhalite mine in North Yorkshire, the UK mining industry is in something of a renaissance. The genesis of these projects pre-dates Brexit and the whole ‘Northern Powerhouse’ stuff, but there can be no doubt that the government is very supportive of what will represent large UK industrial projects over the years to come.

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