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UK Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove could approve the launch of the country’s first deep coal mine in three decades, reported the Telegraph citing sources in the UK Conservative Party.

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Located near Whitehaven, West Cumbria, UK, the Woodhouse Colliery underground metallurgical coal mine is being developed by West Cumbria Mining (WCM).

The approval for the deep coal mine, despite opposition from climate activists, would help the country in reducing its dependence on Russian coal in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Cumbria County Council initially approved the plan for the Woodhouse Colliery. However, activists objected to the mine approval, resulting in the launch of an inquiry by the ministers in 2021 ahead of the Cop26 climate change conference.

Gove, who received a report on the mine from the UK Planning Inspectorate earlier this month, has until 7 July 2022 to decide on the project.

A Tory party source told The Sunday Telegraph: “I don’t know for certain, but I get the impression he is going to approve it.”

Recently, WCM said in a press statement: “Until recently, Russia was supplying almost half of all Britain’s steelmaking coal alongside other long-distance imports.

“A decision to support the WCM project will help slash the need to import foreign coal, deliver the levelling-up agenda for Cumbria and support Britain’s steelmakers with a new local and reliable critical raw material.”

The Woodhouse Colliery mine comprises coal in two main seams including Bannock Band and Main Band.

Coal produced from the mine will be transported through an underground conveyor belt to the surface. It will then be delivered to the new processing and storage building on the old Marchon site near Whitehaven.