Opencast mines in Scotland to be restored?


Opencast mines in Scotland

A number of opencast mines in Scotland could be restored with a taskforce due to discuss the plans. A third meeting of the Scottish Open Cast Mining Taskforce is due to be held in East Ayrshire, with the main focus being placed on restoration. Originally the group was formed after Scottish Coal was placed in liquidation back in April, and the talks come amid calls from the Scottish Opencast Communities Alliance to hold a public inquiry into the industry. Fergus Ewing, the energy minister, will chair the taskforce which is made up of key decision makers, including the Coal Authority, trade unions, the UK and Scottish governments and environmental agency Sepa. "Since the last meeting of the taskforce there has been some significant developments. The Office of the Rail Regulator (OPR), who attended the last meeting of the taskforce, faced strong criticism of their proposed increase of rail freight charges. Since the meeting the OPR took into account the impact of the charging regime on the future of the Scottish coal industry." He added that the Scottish government is "working hard" to support continued operations and the preservation of Scottish mining jobs. "Working with the representatives on the taskforce and colleagues at PACE early indications show that of the 648 people made redundant by SRG between 300 and 500 jobs will be replaced by those lost.  This positive news is down to the hard work of the taskforce, the cooperation from those affected and the engagement with councils, with workers and with coal operators." South of the border it has emerged that UK Coal could be about to be bailed out by the government, with UK Coal Mining Holdings going through a "pre-pack" administration deal which will save over 2,000 jobs. The Sunday Times reported that PricewaterhouseCoopers will oversee the process as the group gets split into two. It comes after UK Coal had to shut its Daw Mill mine in Warwickshire after an underground fire which damaged £100 million of equipment, £160 million of coal and left it with £35 million of costs.