The Liberal Democrats and Greens want a public inquiry into the restoration of mines - which they say have left local communities "environmentally bankrupt" - and an immediate halt to any new developments to ensure the industry fulfils its "legal and moral obligation" by paying the costs of restoration.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the arguments from LibDem leader Willie Rennie and Green co-leader Patrick Harvie were "far from robust". In a Holyrood debate, he said: "The amendment would have the effect of destroying the open cast industry in Scotland and lead to the almost-immediate redundancy of several thousand people. Who is going to invest if there is a moratorium?
"Nobody is. And moreover, what would the effect be? Well the coal-fired power stations will still need coal, but it will come from Columbia, it will come from Russia. How is that good for the environment?"
The industry has already been hit by the collapse of two of Scotland's largest producers, Scottish Coal and ATH Resources, with more than 730 job losses.
The Scottish Open Cast Mining Taskforce was set up to save and create jobs and ensure appropriate restoration of coaled-out mines. The Scottish Government has also announced plans to consult on more effective regulation for the industry.
Mr Rennie said: "I think the minister needs a reality check. What he is doing is desperately propping up failing mines. That risks further environment damage to compound the damage communities have already been exposed to," he said.