Cumbria County Council has given the green light to a new col mine off the county's coast.
Members of the authority's Development, Control and Regulation Committee considered a revised application from developers West Cumbria Mining today.
Of the councillors in attendance 12 voted in favour of the application, three against and there were two abstentions.
The project, planned for a site near Whitehaven and will be the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years.
Committee chair Councillor Geoff Cook said:
The mine will produce metallurgical coal, which is used to produce steel.
This project was initially approved by the county council last March and has aroused strong objections though, particularly from environmental groups.
Campaigning group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole attempted to take the issue to a judicial review. In May though, this was withdrawn.
Around 2.5 million tonnes of coal is expected to be mined from the site to supply UK and European steel-making. Currently, 45 million tonnes is imported per year from the USA, Canada, Russia and Australia. It is hoped that this coal will replace that.
The project will cost £165m and is expected to create up to 500 new jobs in the area.
The application will now go to the British Government for final approval.