UK miner requests 1.3Mt extraction

UK OPENCUT coal miner ATH Resources has lodged a planning application to begin extraction at its Rigg site, 2km west of Kirkconnel, Scotland.

Staff Reporter

The company plans to extract 1.3 million tonnes of coal from the mine, which will have a production life of about two and a half years with a further two years for restoration.

ATH Resources is the third largest coal producer in the UK and holds supply contracts with three of the country's electricity generating companies.

It has four opencut operational mines in Scotland including the Skares Road, Laigh Glenmuir, Grievehill and Glenmuckloch sites that produce an annual total of about 1.7Mt of coal.

The Rigg site will be linked to an eight mile conveyor belt built by the company and launched earlier this year that transports coal between the Glenmuckloch site, near Kirkconnel, and a railhead at New Cumnock, Ayrshire.

The conveyor eliminates the need for road transport and streamlines the product travelling process.

ATH Resources chief executive Tom Allchurch said the mine would create more than 100 jobs and had been extensively planned to coincide with the company's restoration scheme for the area.

At the end of its production life the company intends to restore the site to a mix of forestry, grazing and fishing ponds, with an emphasis on providing habitat for local fauna.

Underground mining was ceased in Scotland in 2002, but is now being reconsidered partly in relation to new clean coal technology and technological advances in the industry.

The Rigg site application is pending approval by local councils.