UK Coal rubbishes investor obstruction claims at Thoresby Colliery

Thorsby Colliery.
Thorsby Colliery.

The owners of Thoresby Colliery have hit back at claims that they are closing the door on potential investors, calling it ‘absolute rubbish’.

A letter penned by Parliamentary candidate Leonie Mathers this week to the energy secretary MP Michael Fallon, has accused UK Coal of not doing enough to save the pit.

The future of the pit remains in doubt after UK Coal announced a managed closure, which will see mining cease by the end of 2015 with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

UK Coal, union officials, MPs, and coal industry chiefs have met regularly since the announcement but and agreement is yet to be reached on either the closure, or potential investment to prolong the pit’s life.

But UK Coal has hit back saying the claims that they are dragging their heels.

Spokesman Andrew Mackintosh said: “We are disappointed to hear of these claims because it’s absolute rubbish. UK coal is speaking to every investor and to say that we are ignoring anybody is nonsense.

“We want it to move quickly to avoid insolvency, it’s extremely frustrating for us and investors.

“Why would we not talk to potential investors to save it?”

Since the announcement in April that Thoresby faced closure, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) has insisted the pit is still profitable, with millions of pounds worth of coal waiting to be mined.

But in her letter, Leonie Mathers wrote: “In recent weeks, I’ve met with a number of potential investors and partners interested in a role supporting a longer future for Thoresby. Without exception, they tell me they have faced a closed door from UK Coal.

“It is crucial that UK Coal now agrees to meet with, and grant full and open access to, all serious potential investors before large-scale redundancies make these prospects unviable.”

MP for Sherwood, Mark Spencer, agreed that the numbers ‘stack up pretty well’, and said it would cost no more to keep the pit open than to close the operation down, but he also admitted to being frustrated by the lack of progress.