Flood closes Ellington

UK Coal’s Ellington Colliery has been closed after water inundated the coal face and it was deemed unsafe to extract limited nearby reserves.
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Ellington mine, courtesy UK Coal

Angie Tomlinson

UK Coal said extensive round-the-clock pumping over the past 13 days to lower the water levels on the face, and the supply roads leading to it, had been unsuccessful.

Ellington produced around 12,000 tonnes of coal a week, most of which was

supplied to the nearby Alcan power station. Supplies of coal to Alcan are being maintained from stocks of around 150,000t at the colliery, and surface mining operations elsewhere in the region.

"The loss of any mine in these circumstances is a bitter blow, particularly for our employees and the local communities in which they live. However, the safety of our employees is paramount,” UK Coal chief Gerry Spindler said.

“Whilst we have contained the flow, the face is flooded and mining adjacent reserves carries unacceptable levels of risk. We are left with no realistic option but to close the mine.

"We could not have asked for, or received, more commitment than that given by the Ellington workforce, and it is a great sadness that their attempts to maintain viable deep mine operations for some years to come have been so abruptly terminated."

Ellington Colliery made an estimated loss in 2004 of £11 million.

Mine closure will result in the loss of 340 jobs and in a non-cash write-down of

£4 million in respect of its operations in the 2004 financial year; the additional costs of closure, including £6 million in redundancies.

Prior to shaft filling, capping and surface remedial works estimated at £3 million, the closure will be cash neutral in 2005.