Sunday, April 15, 2012

There's (Still) Coal in Them There Hills...

Well according to recent press reports here in Kent an Australian mining company called Dysart Coal Mine Management Pty Ltd seems to think so.

An application has been made to the Coal Authority for a conditional underground licence to secure rights for land near to Ripple (in East Kent).

Initially it is expected the company will carry out a feasibility study. If the outcome is positive the company would then have to apply for planning, access and other permissions before a new mine could be opened.

Coal mining in East Kent had a brief and very chequered history (which I will write about in more detail in another post one day when time permits).

The last mine closed in 1989 and today there is very little evidence remaining of the Kent coalfield. Winding gear has been removed, pit buildings demolished and spoil heaps landscaped.

Here are some old pictures I found of the Kent pits in their heyday to give an idea of what it was once like....

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  1. Love the top photo! If coal mining is resumed in Kent, there will be two important questions to ask:
    a] will employment opportunities increase for locals? and
    b] will any lasting damage be done to the environment?

  2. Hi Hels, thanks for your comment. I personally believe the chances of coal mining company back to Kent in the near future are minimal.

    The Kent coalfield was beset with geological problems which made mining difficult and eventually uneconomic.

    IF mining does return the number of people employed would be quite low as modern mining methods involve greater mechanisation than in the past. On the plus side modern methods are
    likely to be greener so any environmental impact should be less.

    Time will tell.

  3. Hi Glen
    In the 70's I provided telecomms support for an international company that was oil prospecting in Kent!they had very large 6 wheel all terrain trucks and set off charges which were monitored remotely.Those firms don't waste their money.With the recent press releases about shale gas reserves,anything might be possible,given the price of excavation being worthwhile.

    1. they didn't want the pits to work when they had them, so whats changed 30 years on?