The world is burning. More and more people are waking up to the reality we are faced with: we must end not just fossil fuels but also the capitalist system that places profit above planet and people.
West Cumbria Mining Ltd (WCM Ltd) want to extract 2.78 million tonnes of coking coal each year from Whitehaven, right up to 2049. The mine is proposed at the contaminated brownfield site of the former Marchon Chemical Works.WCM Ltd. claims the coal mine would be carbon neutral, but that’s a lie. The use of the coal from this coal mine (downstream emissions) is not counted in its emissions. The mine itself would directly release methane (a powerful greenhouse gas). WCM Ltd say it’d offset emissions, but even the offsetting company that WCM Ltd. said it would use is against its use in this project.
Some claim that mining coal in Cumbria means that coal is not imported, so lowering emissions relating to transporting the coal shorter distances. But this is coal for export and transporting it makes up a very small proportion of overall emissions from using coal. If this mine goes ahead, it wouldn’t reduce coal mining abroad, this coal would be extra to what’s already being mined around the world. Something the climate cannot tolerate.
Whitehaven and West Cumbria have a history of coal mining, with hundreds of workers dying in accidents in undersea mines. Where exactly those historic mines lie is unknown. It’s feared new mining will unsettle old workings and release toxins into the sea.
There are numerous groups and individuals campaigning against the proposed mine here. There is also a strong desire for more jobs in Whitehaven. The biggest local employer is Sellafield nuclear power station just down the coast. Local people have an attachment to the community and solidarity the coal mines used to provide. But there are better ways to create jobs through renewable energy, while more coal use worsens the climate and puts coastal and flood risk communities in jeopardy.
Hundreds of new houses are being built adjacent to the proposed site. The concrete pads on the former Marchon Chemical Works site seal in contamination from the former factory. To start work here would mean removing this contamination and driving it past the new houses, this may result in air borne toxins.
Check out https://www.coalaction.org.uk/west-cumbria-mine/ for more details on this application. The campaign to keep this, and all coal, underground has space for everyone and their talents. Get involved.
Together we can stop the proposed Whitehaven coal mine.