Scotland�s coal comeback

JUST like Illinois high-sulfur coal, Scotland’s coal could come back into fashion with rumblings to open a new deep mine as the country’s power stations employ clean coal technology.

Angie Tomlinson

Scottish Coal has said it wants to open a new underground mine at Canonbie in Dumfriesshire, reported to hold 400 million tonnes of reserves.

Scottish Coal chief executive Dacre Purchase told the Scotsman: “They're building a power station every week in China. We're thinking we did a good job building a wind turbine. We're completely missing the point.”

Purchase has been championing coal’s role in Scotland’s energy portfolio over the past few years, saying clean coal is an important part of the mix with nuclear and renewables.

“We have always maintained that coal is part of the solution, not part of the problem. There exists today technology that can be implemented to ‘green’ coal to make it a cleaner energy source,” he said in a statement last year.

Scottish Coal’s push comes at an opportune time, with First Minister Alex Salmond this week stating Scotland’s deep-mining coal industry should be revived with the help of clean coal technology and new technology.

Scottish Power-Iberdrola has announced it will employ clean coal technology – which will remove 90% of sulfur emissions – at its two power plants.

Underground mining in Scotland was halted in 2002. Currently Scottish Coal is the largest coal producer in Scotland and the largest opencut coal mining company in the UK, producing 4 million tonnes per annum.

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