Woodhouse Colliery

Woodhouse Colliery is a new underground mine for the extraction of high-quality metallurgical coal, located on a brownfield site, to the south west of Whitehaven in Cumbria, UK. The mine has planning approval to operate until 2049 and will support the supply of a critical raw material to steelmakers in the UK and EU.

Leading ESG

Net Zero operations with electric mining & vehicle fleet and methane elimination

Project Support

Significant local and national support, including supply chain, jobseekers and potential customers

High Quality

3.5 million tonnes per annum production, high quality coking coal (equivalent to US HV‘A’)


Rapid programme into production with existing utilities to site, railway and deepwater port infrastructure

+500 Workforce

Major employer with significant boost to local socio-economics. 532 employees in full production and >1,500 indirect jobs

De-risked Design

Run out and pocket partial extraction mining method and proven wash plant design. Adjacent to former Haig colliery (1917 to 1984)


Project planning permission secured following UK Government approval. All landowners agreements in place.


Existing rail within 2.5km of mine site, close proximity to Europe with capability for just-in-time smaller shipments

World Leading ‘Net Zero’ Steelmaking Coal

  • One of the largest steelmaking coal resources in Europe with proven resources of more than 216 million tonnes.
  • 100% of production is high-quality metallurgical coal, equivalent to USA High Volatile ‘A’ – a highly desirable
    product to steelmakers.
  • Significant logistical benefits – rail connection to UK steelmakers, 18 hours to key European ports including Rotterdam.
  • Application of modern, proven mining method and equipment (runout and pocket partial extraction).
  • Final planning approval granted by the UK Government (7 December 2022)
  • DFS and detailed engineering completed – construction to commence before the end of 2023 with first production in the first half of 2025
  • Historical mining at adjacent Haig Colliery (1917 to 1986) confirms practical conditions and extensive seams
  • World leading ‘net-zero’ coal product with the lowest Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions of any steelmaking coal mine globally
  • Comprehensive methane capture and abatement programme (>95% elimination)
  • Tree planting, renewable electricity and offset of minor residual emissions via purchase of recognised offsets
  • >95% local community support for project – in full production the project is expected to generate 532 direct jobs, >1,500 indirect jobs
  • Strong demand and supply dynamics with ever increasing constraints on other new coal projects
  • Low project delivery risk due to existing surface and rail infrastructure and access to deep berth port
  • Significant annual expenditure into the local area and national supply chain, with more than £100m spend per annum
  • Twin declines for cost effective and time efficient access to coal seams (450m depth, ~2.5m thick)
  • Experienced project team with combined +100 years of relevant mining development and operational experience
  • Key suppliers identified, with a focus on local and UK companies wherever possible
  • Very high level of interest from job-seekers, with many applications from mining and tunnelling experienced personnel based in the UK
  • Supported by a board and investors with huge resource industry experience and capability


The mine site is on the edge of the historic town of Whitehaven, on the west coast of Cumbria, overlooking the Irish Sea.

Construction Project

The construction of the mine and infrastructure will be a significant project, with a spend of more than £160m over a two-year period

Mine Leasing Applications

Almost all of the mining will be beneath the Irish Sea. The underground mining seams are around 500m deep (with the Irish Sea being around 30m depth). Undersea mining has been extensively practiced in the UK and around the world for centuries and is no different to onshore underground mining.


WCM has worked with local landowners over the last eight years and have all agreements in place for the construction and operation of the project. This includes long term ecology and environmental management and full restoration at the end of mining operations.


The project will regenerate current brownfield sites, with significant improvements in local ecology and public amenity, with treeplanting, footpath creation and extensive landscaping.

Corporate Social Responsibility – Key Commitments

  • World class safety, environmental and governance expectations
  • Zero harm for all employees and connected parties (suppliers, contractors, advisers)
  • Major programme of public and stakeholder engagement since 2014
  • Clear and open dialogue and engagement at all times
  • Value led approach with transparent reporting and local community liaison group
  • World leading emissions mitigation scheme
  • The lowest operational emissions of any coal
  • Extensive environmental impact assessments completed for ecology, flora, fauna, heritage and visual impacts
  • Plans in-place for annual surveys, relocation of any newly identified species, significant tree-planting, landscaping and brownfield site regeneration
  • A wide range of commitments to work with the local community including a project foundation fund for local benefit
  • Target for 80% of employees to be local (within 20 miles of mine)
  • Significant socio-economic benefits into the local community and supply chain
  • Underground mining – no surface impacts or disturbance
  • Modern mine buildings – fully enclosed stockpiles
  • No subsidence impacts to local properties or land
  • No visual headgears or traditional mine infrastructure
  • No requirement to draw on existing local mains water supply
  • Stormwater tanks incorporated into mine site design
  • Closed loop coal wash treatment plant system
  • Existing permitted sea outfall on main mine site
  • No surface tips or land usage
  • Underground disposal of plant reject material further reduces any subsidence risks
  • Significant benefit to long term remediation

World-Class Port & Rail Infrastructure

WCM will transport all product by rail and sea to UK and EU customers. The operational Redcar Bulk Terminal, is the deepest water port on the East Coast and has been selected for all large shipments.

High-quality Steelmaking Coals

The metallurgical coal produced by WCM will be high quality ideally suited for the UK and EU steelmakers blending requirements, having ultra low ash and phosphorous with very high fluidity. This is a key component of the blend to produce coke for the highest grades of quality steel.

Balanced Approach to Land Management

The planning process has ensured the highest levels of environmental management and protection are integrated into all aspects of the project. This will include significant remediation of brownfield sites, extensive tree planting and the creation of public amenity and footpaths.

Locally-based Employment including a Focus on Gender Equality

WCM has committed to recruiting at least 80% of the workforce from the local area (within 20 miles of the project). We will work with local recruits via training and skills development, together with an extensive programme for apprenticeships, to provide transferable skills for local people. We aim to be an employer of choice and will actively encourage equal opportunities across all roles, including underground and trade skills.