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Nature volume 150, pages 4446 (11 July 1942) | Download Citation



DURING recent months the provision of sufficient coal to meet the growing needs in Great Britain of the munition industry, as well as the domestic consumer, has been exercising the minds of the public and has been the subject of considerable discussion in the Press and both Houses of Parliament. Among the many suggestions for increasing the war-time output, the winning of coal by opencast methods has been mentioned. Opencast workings or opencuts are surface excavations in which the overburden is stripped by hand or mechanical excavators, thereby laying bare the mineral, which is afterwards broken and loaded into wagons or lorries by methods similar to those used for removing the overburden. In some localities in Great Britain the conditions are known to be suitable for the successful application of this method of working and intensive prospecting may result in the discovery of more. Several estimates of the total amount of coal available and also of the amount that can be extracted in the current year have been given wide publicity, but the facts, as so far proved, suggest these figures are optimistic.

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  1. O. B. E. Imperial College of Science and Technology

    • J. A. S. RITSON


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