After the Miner's Strike and Ian McGregor's time in charge of British Coal, it has always seemed that coal production in the UK has been in decline. Not so to judge by two news stories I heard this week.
Firstly, Tower colliery in South Wales has just celebrated 10 years in business. It's the only coal mine in Europe owned by its workforce - 240 miners put in £8000 of their redundancy money to buy it and keep it going. They have worked hard to win contracts for their coal and now 400 men are employed. A great success story for co-operative working.
And secondly Scottish Coal have announced a new mine. This will be opencast, unlike Tower, but they say that there is a good medium term future for coal. Modern technology to make coal cleaner and investment in conveyor belt systems makes coal competitive for generating electricity.
Looks like good news for an industry which once seemed to be in decline.