The privatisation of the coal industry was introduced in two stages. The first stage occurred in 1990 with the raising of the limits on the number of men who could be employed underground or, as appropriate, the tonnage of coal to be got from an opencast operation1 worked in accordance with a licence granted by the British Coal Corporation2. This made it possible for reasonably substantial mines to be worked otherwise than by the British Coal Corporation. The British Coal Corporation therefore granted licences to independent operators enabling the continued working of a number of underground mines which had
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