UK Coal Preparation
Coal production in the UK has fallen dramatically over the last thirty years. From a peak saleable output of over 200 million tons per annum to almost a tenth of that-25 million tons. This has been due to a number of factors, initially labour relations, then the discovery of natural gas and oil in the North sea and lately to the pressures of improving the environment by reducing carbon emissions.
Consequently the need for coal preparation has diminished with the lower tonnages to be treated and also due to the fact that 90% of the saleable coal is destined for electricity generation and does not require the same degree of cleaning as does coal for industrial and domestic purposes. The UK was at one time self sufficient in producing coal for carbonization to make coke for steel making, but now all coking coal is imported.
Although the consumption of coal in the UK is still around 60 million tons year, almost two thirds of our needs is met by imported coal. There is still plenty of coal reserves in the UK at least sufficient for providing 200 million tons per annum for the next 200 years. A resource that may well be needed in the future.