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COAL MINING IN THE NETHERLANDS; THE NEED FOR A PROPER ASSESSMENT
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In the Netherlands several billion tonnes of mineable coal remained after closure of all mines in 1974.Mining activities in Dutch Limburg were suspended relatively early in comparison to surrounding basins, of whichonly DSK’s Ruhr mines are still producing. In retrospective this saved the costs of uneconomic exploitation and limitedfurther depletion. On the other hand, associated knowledge base and mining expertise virtually disappeared from theNetherlands. Almost 30 years later this may arise some fundamental questions: How far is coal depleted in the Netherlands?How do the remaining inland reserves benchmark compared to other basins? What factors determine technical,environmental and economic feasibility of coal production? How are productivities developing with the progress ofautomation? How do applicable production costs relate to market prices and what are the expected trends in future?Which production costs are fundamental (e.g. of geological origin) and which may be overcome by technologicalprogress? After giving a concise overview of the “old�? basin and its exploitation history, the remaining coal-bearingareas in the Netherlands are briefl y described with regard to their technical mineability. Some factors affecting thecurrent economic, technical and environmental boundary conditions of coal mining are discussed.
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About: Tako P.R. de JONG
Delft University of Technology, Department of Raw Materials Processing, Mijnbouwstraat 120, NL-2628 RX Delft.