Closure looks certain

UK COAL’s Harworth and Rossington collieries face an uncertain future with 500 jobs hanging in the balance.

Staff Reporter

The company announced plans last year to mothball the two Yorkshire mines but has continued lobbying Government for support to keep them going.

The Government appears unlikely to grant soft loans in time to extend the lives of the two mines, according to company chief Gerry Spindler, English newspaper the Sunday Times reported.

This week UK Coal posts its full-year results with the company's five deep mines returning to profitability during the last quarter, the first since 2000.

At the time of the announced closure workers at Harworth were cut to 300 in an attempt to cut costs, and shift patterns were restructured. According to the Yorkshire Post, UK Coal may keep the colliery open by opening up a new coalface to tap into another 1.5 million tonnes of reserves though it is unclear whether this deal requires the soft loan support Spindler hopes to win.

The deal means cutting the existing workforce by another 70. Once the current block is finished sometime this year there will be a break in coal production of several months until the new block has been developed in early 2007, according to the Post.

Production at Rossington is still expected to end next month with the pit to be mothballed pending improved market conditions.

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