Coking coal, also known as metallurgical coal, is used exclusively as an essential ingredient for steel production.
The coal is ‘baked’ in a coke oven which forces out impurities to produce coke, which is a form of almost pure carbon. Modern steel plants, the likes of which are predominantly found in the UK and Europe, include extensive gas treatment and capture to significantly reduce emissions. The steel that is produced is used in all of our daily lives in a wide range of domestic uses (e.g. cars, kettles, trains) as well as in the manufacture of wind turbines and nuclear power stations, key alternatives to historical coal-powered energy generation.
Coking coal for steel is very different to thermal coal which is used to create steam to power turbines for creating electricity. Following a government change in policy in early 2018, all coal fired power generation in the UK will end by October 2025 and as such will no longer form part of the UK power source in the very near future.
West Cumbria coals are known to be high volatile, hard coking coal. They have:
- Very low ash levels – thus reduced waste material
- Very low phosphorus – a major positive for steel strength
- Very good coke characteristics – it performs well in the furnace
The quality of the metallurgical coal that Woodhouse Colliery will produce is equivalent to premium US High Volatile ‘A’ coal. Exploration results from the area lead us to believe that we can extract high quality ‘hard’ metallurgical coal which will be highly regarded by steel manufacturers.