Journey’s end: last of England’s open-cast mines begins final push

Few in the small town of Staveley, near Chesterfield, could have predicted that an overlooked industrial site on its outskirts would play host to the end of thousands of years of coal mining in England. The Hartington site stands unassumingly within the green hills of Derbyshire where it produces a small handful of coal, in industry terms, alongside gravel and construction grit. It is also, by chance, England’s last open-cast coal mine in a history that dates back to Roman times. The Hartington site can trace its roots in the mining industry back more than 140 years to when it first began producing coal for the Staveley Coal and Iron Company in 1875. Then, the company’s 3,000 workers produced 1m tonnes of coal a year. Today, Hartington is a minnow within the fast-draining coal industry and aims to produce a total of 87,000 tonnes. Government officials had expected Hartington to reach its modest target by the start of August, but delays caused by the coronavirus has meant the mine will be allowed to continue to eke out the last of its coal for the rest of the year. By sheer chance Hartington will outlive England’s far larger surface mines, […]

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