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Opencast Coal (Wastage)

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the maximum and minimum figures from which the average wastage of 4 per cent. in opencast coal is derived; and in which areas the highest wastage has been apparent in the last year.

The estimate of 4 per cent. as the average rate of wastage of opencast coal between site and merchant relates to the whole period since the commencement of opencast operations in 1942. This figure was not built up region by region, but was calculated for the country as a whole, and I regret, therefore, that it is not possible to give the maximum and minimum regional figures. Regional figures are, however, available for the year 1946–47 during which period the average rate of wastage was 2.84 per cent. The highest rate was apparent in Scotland, but there is very little material difference between the remaining regions.

Is this in any way related to the thickness of the seams worked, in view of the Minister's previous assertion that the highest wastage takes place near the surface edge?

I think the greatest wastage is where the greatest amount of dirt is taken from the coal, and that very often applies to coal near the surface.