'Coal Exploitation in the North East' Lecture
The event runs from 13:15 on 29th Sep 2011 until 14:45 on 29th Sep 2011
The North East has a proud mining history, and now research by one of the country's top experts has revealed that history may be far from over, with the discovery of massive untapped resources made available by new technology.
Professor Paul Younger will give this year's Lord Lawson Lecture at the University of Sunderland. The talk is backed by NEEMARC (North East England Mining Archive and Research Centre), one of the most comprehensive collections of mining records in the world, based at the university's Special Collections archive.
The free talk takes place this Thursday (September 29). In it Professor Younger, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, will talk about how new technologies are at last making available the rich resources of coal still untapped in the North East of England; with over 75 per cent of the coal deposits laying untouched beneath our feet.
"In my talk I'll be looking at how coal was exploited historically, the consequences of the close down of the traditional industry, and the limited prospects of any resumption of conventional mining techniques," explains Professor Younger. "But new techniques of underground coal classification, coupled with carbon capture storage, offers the opportunity to use some of the energy in the coal without damaging the environment.
"This emergent technology has already been used successfully in Australia, but ironically, like a lot of good things, the technique was originally invented in North East England, in County Durham in 1912.
"But as time has gone on drilling and capture technology has become more advanced. Unlike other forms of mining, such as strip mining, there is no real impact on the environment, it's simply a matter of drilling small bore holes, and most of the tar and ash and dirt associated with traditional coal mining remains below the ground where it belongs.
"Around 75 per cent of the coal in the North East is still underground, even though we have been mining it on an industrial scale longer than anyone else in the world. Previously a lot of this coal was too deep for conventional mining, or too far off shore. Even today this resource this could never be exploited by conventional means, but the technology to harness that resource has now become cost effective.
"As resources shrink we will become very grateful that we have this massive resource in the North East. In my opinion we need to start exploiting it now."
Professor Paul Younger will give the third annual Lord Lawson Lecture, ‘Coal Exploitation in the North East: The Past We Inherit, the Future We Build' on Thursday, September 29 at 1.15pm in room A16, Priestman Building, Green Terrace, Sunderland (opposite Varsity Pub). The talk is free and open to everyone.