obviously the ideal solution would be to produce the steel without the use of coal (or anything worse). but realistically when might that happen? not next week, for sure!
if our steel industry is going to use coal, then far better it's dug up close to where it's needed. minimise transport costs. also maximise jobs for local people. however, the government should perhaps enforce taxes high enough to ensure the steel industry will want to operate without coal, and thus research and invest accordingly.
oh. whoops. i forgot who's in charge. shouldn't have wasted my "breath". i bet he has lots of chums making money the way things are, so i don't expect any change for the better.
Most of the coal extracted from this mine will be sold abroad, so the idea that it's going to be used for our home grown steel industry is incorrect. We already have adequate coal supplies for our steel industry from non-Russian sources. The coal this mine will produce is not suitable for making steel because its sulphur content is too high. The industry expectation is that they will move to "green steel" by 2030. Any increased dependency on coal makes our climate change targets more unachievable.
Fair to say it's a complete white elephant and I'm not in favour!