Planning permission for a new coal mine has been granted by levelling-up secretary Michael Gove – the first in the UK for more than 30 years.
A Government spokesperson said the fossil fuel would be used to produce steel and would otherwise be imported.
They said the mine will aim to be net zero and bring jobs to the local area in Cumbria where it is planned for.
The deep coal mine near Whitehaven will produce 3.1 million tonnes a year, according to West Cumbria Mining.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth said it was “an appalling decision”.
“Approving this mine is a misguided and deeply damaging mistake that flies in the face of all the evidence. The mine isn’t needed, will add to global climate emissions, and won’t replace Russian coal,” said campaigner Tony Bosworth.
“Scientists are clear that new fossil fuel projects are not compatible with meeting global climate goals to limit warming to 1.5C.
“The market for this coal is rapidly disappearing as UK and European steelmakers recognise that green steel is the future, and this mine risks becoming an expensive stranded asset.”
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said: “The secretary of state has agreed to grant planning permission for a new metallurgical coal mine in Cumbria as recommended by the independent planning inspector.
“This coal will be used for the production of steel and would otherwise need to be imported. It will not be used for power generation.
“The mine seeks to be net zero in its operations and is expected to contribute to local employment and the wider economy.”
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