Since 2014, West Cumbria Mining has been developing plans for the creation of an underground metallurgical coal mine, off the coast near Whitehaven in West Cumbria to supply the UK and European steel-making industry, which, in 2019, imported 52 million tonnes of seaborne metallurgical coal from the United States of America, Australia, Russia and Columbia.
Cumbria is an area rich in mining history and experience; as the plans for our project have developed, we have looked to harness this knowledge in a modern mine which will have the benefits of first-class levels of health and safety as well as a much cleaner and more pleasant environment than the previous mines of Cumbria’s history.
Throughout the development of our plans, we have undertaken an extensive programme of coal exploration, both onshore and offshore, and this work has proven the presence of high-quality steel-making coal with very attractive properties (including extremely low ash and phosphorus).
The result of this exploration work has allowed us to finalise key aspects of the project such as the design of the mine, method of extraction and processing of the coal itself.
Formal planning approval for the development of the Cumbrian Metallurgical Coal Project – to be known as Woodhouse Colliery, was unanimously granted (subject to 99 planning conditions) on 19th March 2019 by the Development Control Committee of Cumbria County Council at a meeting in Kendal. This decision was subsequently ratified again (a second unanimous vote) on 31st October 2019.
Over the coming months, WCM will continue to work with CCC to discharge those planning conditions, which will enable the project to progress into the construction phase. Coal production is expected to commence around 18-months from the start of construction.