Its last deep mine closed in 2015 (AFP)

Controversy over the approval of a coal mine in the United Kingdom: strongly criticized for its environmental damage

Its last deep mine closed in 2015 (AFP)

Its last deep mine closed in 2015 (AFP)

Britain on Wednesday approved its first deep-sea coal mine in decades to produce the highly polluting fuel for the steel industry, a move that drew criticism from opponents who say it hinders meeting climate targets. Will do

The Woodhouse Colliery mine, to be developed by West Cumbria Mining in north-west England, is intended to extract coking coal, which is used in the steel industry and not to generate electricity. This is expected to create around 500 jobs.

The bill, introduced in 2014, has been criticized by the British government’s own independent climate advisory panel, as well as by opposition parties, climate activists and organizations including Greta Thunberg and Greenpeace.

“This coal will be used for steel production and would otherwise need to be imported. It will not be used to generate electricity,” a spokesman for the Department for Grading, Housing and Communities said after permission was granted by Minister Michael Gove.

Greenhouse gas emissions from coal combustion - such as those at steel mills and power plants - are the main driver of climate change (Reuters/Scott Heppell)

Greenhouse gas emissions from coal combustion – such as those at steel mills and power plants – are the main driver of climate change (Reuters/Scott Heppell)

“The mine intends to be net zero in its operations and is expected to contribute to local employment and the economy in general.”

Most of the coal produced is expected to be exported to Europe. Planning documents suggest that more than 80% of the coal produced annually from the mine will, within five years, be shipped to an export terminal on the east coast of England.

Greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal – such as at steel mills and power plants – are the main drivers of climate change, so countries moving away from coal are seen as vital to meeting global climate goals.

Great Britain, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, came to employ 1.2 million people in some 3,000 coal mines. Its last deep mine was closed in 2015.

(With information from Reuters)

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