Why import coal when we can mine our own coal?
Coal is a valuable mineral resource that is used for a variety of purposes including: iron and steel manufacture; cement manufacture; coke manufacture; domestic heat generation; food and beverage production; chemicals production; patent fuel manufacture (smokeless briquettes); carbon fibre products manufacture and other uses. Over the last decade or so around 9 million tonnes per annum of coal has been needed in the UK for non-electricity generation purposes. (The mean average from 2006 to 2016 of coal used in the UK for non-electricity generation purposes was 9.3 million tonnes). Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2017, table 2.1.2, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solid-fuels-and-derived-gases-chapter-2-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes, see Excel spreadsheet.
See motion in Parliament regarding Demand for Coal in UK, from June 2018.
We are proud that some of the coal we have produced from our North East mines has been supplied to Tata Steel in South Wales, where it has been used to make steel. In turn some of this steel (the appropriate grade) has then been supplied to Nissan Sunderland in the North East where it has been used to make cars such as the Qashqai, the Juke and the all electric Leaf.
Coal is still used for electricity generation in the UK. Figures fluctuate depending upon the weather conditions and demand. In the so called “beast from the East” cold snap, in the week commencing Monday 26 February 2018, electricity generated by the seven active coal fired power stations in Great Britain accounted for over a quarter of the total electricity produced each day that week.
The seven active coal fired power stations in Great Britain are: 1) West Burton; 2) Eggborough; 3) Aberthaw B; 4) Fiddlers Ferry; 5) Ratcliffe; 6) Drax and 7) Cottam.
In 2017 the UK coal fired power station fleet burnt around 14.5mte of coal. Please see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/643414/DUKES_2017.pdf, table 5.3 Fuel used in generation, page 137