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Mining Review 20/10: Nova Scotia (1967)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The commentary doubles as a synopsis, and is reproduced in full below:

Scotland's past, and its plans for the future, have not always been happy. Working conditions in mining were often very difficult, if there was work at all. But today, in the mid-sixties, the picture is very different. The mines in Scotland are newly reorganised. Instead of eight areas, today there are only two - North and South.

North across the Forth is the area of the power stations, of Kincardine. And now of Longannet, still building, but which by 1968 will need six or seven million tons of coal a year to keep its generators turning. Coal in quantities calculated by computer, as it is needed. The coal will come from a line of pits stretching from the Ochil Hills to the Forth. The surfaces of these collieries are neat and tidy. They will wind only men and materials. The coal for the power station will go underground.

South Scotland is the area of Bilston Glen and Monckton Hall and Killoch, the first million ton a year colliery in Scotland. There is a bright future for Scottish coal as a source of power, for, if Scotland is to keep its place in the modern world, it will need all the power it can get. Hydroelectricity can make only a small contribution. For a long time, nuclear power will not make much more. The bulk of the load must be borne by coal. Once a country dependent entirely on iron and steel, on shipbuilding and heavy engineering, in the last 20 years, Scotland has been diversifying, adding new industries from motorcars through watches and clocks to electronics.

And still the change is not fast enough. There's still room for plenty of improvement in the state of the nation. But out of the old Scotland, a new Scotland is growing. The new towns are being built. There will be new centres of prosperity. And the power behind them all must still be coal, and the thousands of Scots who mine it. Men who have boosted their productivity by 70% in the last eight years.