Two of the three deep mines left in Britain are about to shut down amid lack of funds and coal-hostile environment, leaving 1,300 workers unemployed.
UK Coal runs the sites, which are located at Kellingley in Yorkshire and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire. Kellingley is the largest deep mine left and has been producing coal since 1965, while Thoresby’s reserves are expected to last until 2019.
UK Coal, which owns eight pits in the UK and supplies 8% of British coal, is considering the closure because it needs to raise £10 million in a short time to keep trading.
UK Coal spokesperson Andrew Mackintosh told BBC radio Nottingham that the mines would close anyway at some point.
“We are not looking at a long-term future here, but in order to close the mines slowly we need to have money”, he said.
“If we secure funding it gives us time to work with suppliers and employees to ensure a smooth closure programme.
“Thoresby and Kellingley would have at least 18 months, rather than an immediate closure if we don’t get the funding.”
If the company does not manage to get the cash needed, it might turn to the government for state aid. However, given the 2030 clean energy and climate commitment, as well as recent pollution alerts, the government might be unable to help under European legislation.
Coal still accounts for around 40% of UK’s energy mix, but its price has fallen recently because of the shale gas boom in the US. However, considering that UK Coal sells locally and the sterling has become stronger, the price of the coal the company produces has increased.
Photo: oatsy40 via flickr