UK clears coal mine project, first in over 30 years

AA / Istanbul / Rasha Evrensel

The British government has approved a controversial coal mining project in the county of Cumbria (North West England), the first of its kind in the country for more than 30 years.

Britain’s ITV reported on Thursday that Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove had reviewed the decision and said he was “satisfied with the existence of an Anglo-European coal market now and global demand is likely to continue.”

The UK minister confirmed the “planning inspector’s approval of the mine”.

Regarding the jobs created by the project, Gove said it “will make a significant contribution to the local economy”.

The decision to grant permission to operate the coal mine, near Whitehaven, was due on July 7, but has been postponed 3 times.

The mine aims to extract around 3.1 million tonnes of coal a year, creating 500 jobs, to supply steel mills in Britain and Europe, according to the ITV channel.

Most of the coal from the new mine is expected to be exported to Europe, as planning documents indicate that more than 80% of the coal per year after 5 years of production should be transported to an export terminal on the east coast, according to to the American magazine Forbes.

Supporters of the construction of the mine believe that the employment opportunities that the project will provide will give the Whitehaven region an economic boost in addition to reducing dependence on imported coal, while critics of the project argue that any benefits of the mine are outweighed of its harmful effects and impact on the climate.

Earlier this week, these views were echoed by Alok Sharma, who chaired last year’s global climate summit in Glasgow, UK.

“Construction of the mine will be a step backwards in climate action,” Sharma said in a social media post.

* Translated from Arabic by Mounir Bennour.

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