The UK first discovered coal around 1575 when Sir George Bruce opened the first coal mine, however it wasn’t until the mid-16th century that the use and production of coal expanded rapidly. Compared to today’s standards of production, the UKs coal production throughout the 1700s was considerably low with an annual coal output of under 3 million tons.
The 19th and 20th Century
The output of coal was low in the UK until it grew rapidly throughout the 1900s, and production peaked to 292 million tons in the year 1913. The production rate did drop after 1913, however they were still high as the UK produced 269.91 million tons in 1914 and 257.26 million tons in 1915. Additionally, 1970 was the first year the UK also imported coal, however the amount it produced had decreased significantly to 147.19 million tons. Finally, 1989 was the final year to date where the total coal production in the UK was over 100 million tons.
The 21st Century
2016 was the first year where there was no deep mine coal output as the last deep coal mine in the UK was closed on the 18th of December 2015. In the same year, the UK produced just 4 million tons worth of coal and the production of coal has decreased considerably every year following. For instance, we produced 10 million tons of coal in 2010 whereas we produced 2 million tons of coal in 2019, which is a shocking 80% decrease.
Even though the last deep coal mine closed in 2015, there were still 26 open-cast coal mines that were operational by the end of 2015. The process of using open-cast mines differs to underground mining as miners don’t need to live and work on the mining camps. In addition to this, open mining is also much safer, doesn’t require artificial lighting, and there are no restrictions when it comes to large and heavy machinery.
Coal is still one of the cheapest sources of energy and even with the decrease of production, the industry still provides thousands of jobs in production, transportation and disposal. For more information on any of this, you can get in contact with the best coal merchant around and speak to a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!