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Approval for Scottish opencast coal mine

World Coal,

A plan for a new opencast coal mine near Edinburgh, Scotland, is set for approval this week despite strong opposition from environmental groups and local residents.

The mine at Cauldhall, near Penicuik, is the first to be proposed since Scotland’s two major coal companies went into liquidation, leaving a number of old opencast mines across the country without enough money to fund cleanup programmes.

Opponents are arguing that the new mine should be rejected at least until there are clear assurances that landscape restoration will be funded. However, they have been assured that there will be legally binding restoration guarantees in place before work on the mine starts.

Midlothian Council planning officials are recommending approval at a meeting tomorrow for a bid by the coal company, Hargreaves, to extract 10 million t of coal over the next 13 years at Cauldhall.

Hargreaves planning director, Steve McQuarrie, commented: "Hargreaves is wholly committed to the future of the surface mining industry in Scotland and to the delivery of legally binding restoration guarantees on all new sites before work commences". Cauldhall will employ 230 people and create more jobs in the supply chain, McQuarrie added.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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