Notts: Axe falls on Thoresby Colliery as plans announced for closure next year

Thoresby Colliery

Thoresby Colliery

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UK Coal has finally confirmed that it has secured funding to close Thoresby Colliery next summer.

The deal includes a commercial loan of £4m from the Government as well as support from partners, which will allow the company to safely close Kellingley Colliery in South Yorks as well.

Andrew Mackintosh, communications director, said: “This is a day of very mixed emotions, but it was critical that we managed to avoid insolvency and the immediate collapse of the business.

“We’re very grateful for the support we have been given and this deal does not prevent fresh investment in the company, even at this late stage.

“We would like to thank the Government, our people, our customers, suppliers and other interested parties for all of their support and will work with them to ensure a smooth transition in the coming months.”

Almost 200 jobs are thought to have been lost already with the rest - between 300 and 400 - expected to be gone by July next year.

UK Coal announced earlier this year that it needed tens of millions of pounds to stave off insolvency, after denying it was in trouble.

Since then union officials have battled to put together a package to save the pit, which is the last deep mine left in Nottinghamshire.

UK Coal blamed the continuously low coal price over recent years, thanks in part to the success of fracking in the US. Combined with the strong pound against the dollar, they say it has made it impossible to remain.

But the announcement has angered Sherwood MP, Mark Spencer, who said: “The deal has taken an extraordinarily long time, which is disappointing. What I’m happy about it that is won’t close immediately.

“I think the delays in negotiating made it more challenging, and I can’t help but thinking that by pulling the deal together quicker, we could have been in a much better position in the medium term.

“I’m still not willing to give up.

“The minister has been quite clear that it does not preclude investment from the private sector, and does not preclude going back to the government for further money in the future.

“Because of the delays, the next phase has not been worked on, so the ability to keep lifting coal has been hindered.”

But Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Sherwood, Leonie Mathers, blamed the Government for the problems, saying: “I’m angry that this Government is able to find £3 billion to give a tax break to a handful of millionaires, but they’ve ruled out any investment to keep Thoresby open and hundreds of hardworking local people in jobs.”