The opencast coal mine at Ffos-y-Fran near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales is the UK’s largest - and has produced eight million tonnes of coal. Now Miller Argent, the owner and operator, wants to extend the mine. Banks Mining has applied for planning permission to begin a new mine at Highthorn, in Northumberland. The application will go before Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, today. MAT HOPE of DeSmog UK spoke to the people most affected.