Midlands business bosses are stepping up their campaign for the reopening of the region's coalmines.
Southern Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes a revival could help avert a growing energy crisis and provide a massive boost to the area's economy.
In a letter to Garold Spin-dler, chief executive of UK Coal, Chamber counterpart Peter Reid said overlooking local coal reserves would be to the detriment of energy needs.
If investment was being made in the industry then the company should look at the potential of Southern Staffordshire.
Mr Reid said: "The Chamber has serious concerns about steep rises in electricity and gas prices.
"Feedback from our members, particularly among manufacturers, suggests increases in gas prices of as much as 100 per cent in the last 18 months.
"These are having a seriously detrimental effect on the competitiveness of British industry and will have a longer term impact on our economic performance.
"The Chamber believes the viability of UK coal should be brought back into the energy debate."
The Chamber highlighted earlier this year how Staffordshire's coal was of the highest quality, much superior to cheap imports, and that a growth in the domestic market would be good news for the local economy by creating jobs and stimulating investment.
Mr Reid said advances in the industry had now made the extraction of coal far more efficient and further investment would improve the situation further.
"Staffordshire enjoys vast coal reserves and there are potential new prospects if investment and Government backing can be secured.
"The Minister for Energy has already said the Government is looking closely at new clean coal power stations as part of Britain's future energy mix, and that this should allow ongoing and potential new pits to plan for a long term future.
"The energy debate in Britain has overlooked coal as a fuel of the future for far too long. It provides Britain with a source of reliable and uninterrupted energy that accounts for 34 per cent of electricity generation.
"This can rise to 50 per cent in periods of peak demand.
"It can be stockpiled to guarantee future supply and can be burnt cleanly in a clean coal power station - such stations are already up and running in the US."
A megawatt hour of coal-fired electricity was also cheaper than gas or nuclear, added Mr Reid.
"The run-down of the deep mine industry as part of the 'dash for gas' has limited our ability to mine our own reserves and Britain is increasingly dependant on imports.
"Rugeley Power Station is now equipped with equipment to allow it to burn coal more cleanly but 80 per cent of the fuel is imported.
"It is essential for our security of supply that as much coal as possible is visibly mined in Britain as against imports which add to our trade deficit," said Mr Reid.