Coal mining in the Yorkshire-Nottinghamshire Coalfield has been one of the region's most important industries over the last 150 years. The number of working mines peaked at over 400 in the late 19th and early part of the 20th Century. However, many have closed over the last few years and now there are only 10 large working mines still open. Three of these, Ricall/Whitemoor, Stillingfleet and Wistow, in the Selby complex, are due to close in April 2004. Although there are significant untouched coal resources east of the current deep mines, the prospects for opening new mines in the Yorkshire-Nottinghamshire coalfield appear very poor. Consequently, there has been a revival of interest in the potential for releasing some of the energy value of the remaining coal resources via alternative technologies such as coalbed methane production and underground coal gasification
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