HC Deb 06 April 1976 vol 909 cc108-9W
Mr. George Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the present output per manshift in the British coal mining industry; and what are the figures for other EEC countries.

Mr. Eadie

Figures of average output per manshift at NCB mines are published in "Energy Trends" copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The following are the figures for the year 1975 and the first two months of 1976.

Average output per manshift
Overall At the face
cwt. cwt.
1975 44.9 155.8
1976 January 44.9 155.9
1976 February (a) 46.3 158.2
(a) Provisional.

Directly comparable figures for other EEC countries are not available, but the Statistical Office of the European Communities publishes figures for each country of average output per manshift underground. The following are the latest figures, expressed in hundredweight:

Average output (cwt.) permanshift underground
1975 1976
Germany 80.0 78.5
France 54.4 56.5
Belgium 47.8 47.7
United Kingdom 68.8 68.5
EUR9 70.1 69.4

Source: Eurostat Coal Press Notice 3–1976.

Coal production in other member countries is small or nil, and no output per manshift figures are issued for them.

Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether the experiment and development in connection with automation in coal mining includes investigation of remote control of mining machinery from the surface.

Mr. Eadie

I understand that experiments are taking place on the remote control of some face operations from underground locations. Control from the surface is still some way off and must await the development of reliable sensors, transmission systems and suitable data processing on which work is at present concentrated. By the end of next year the NCB hopes to have 12 collieries with remote monitoring of some underground operations. At one colliery control of the conveyor system from the surface is in operation.