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  1. ITV Report

The plans to bring mining back to west Cumbria

The stretch of coast where coal extraction could begin by 2019. Photo: ITV Border

Plans for a new mine in West Cumbria are being revealed to the public this weekend.

West Cumbria Mining plan to use existing tunnels and portals left over from the old mines. They say they've found billions of tonnes of coking coal - which is used in the steel industry - that stretches out for five miles under the sea.

The company is due to apply for planning permission next year.

But they say that the sale of Tata steel sites in the UK doesn't affect their mining goals:

We'd like to supply to the UK steel industry but our project has always been based on Europe. A lot of people don't realise that outside of China, Europe is the next biggest manufacturer in the world of steel. They import all their coal, mainly equivalent to ours, from America.

– Mark Kirkbridge CEO, West Cumbria Mining
This 3D model shows how the new mine could look Credit: West Cumbria Mining

West Cumbria Mining say they've received positive support and they'll do their best to limit environmental impacts.

But the Allerdale and Copeland Green Party say that's not enough:

The last thing we need is for fossil fuels to be take out of the ground. Coal should stay in the ground.

Everybody, every industry, every person, has to think about how they get their energy and in which ways they can do it better."

– Jill Perry, Allerdale and Copeland Green Party
Haig Pitt at Whitehaven closed in 1986 Credit: ITV Border

Millions of tonnes of coal was mined from Haig Pitt in Whitehaven, until it closed in 1986.

If West Cumbria Mining's planning permission is approved, they could start extracting coal in 2019.