Thoresby Colliery could still close ‘any minute’- says MP

Thorsby Colliery.
Thorsby Colliery.

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer fears Thorebsy Colliery could still close ‘at any minute’ with the loss of 600 jobs.

Despite reports of a Government bail out of £10 million to help finance the winding down of production over the next 18 months, Mr Spencer remains uncertain if the deal has been rubber stamped, especially as a further £10 million is still required from the private sector.

He also fears that geological issues at South Yorkshire’s Kellingley Colliery - also owned by UK coal and also earmarked for closure - has slowed their coal production in recent weeks and could hinder a deal.

A meeting planned this week between Mr Spencer and UK Coal chiefs was cancelled, but he is still eager for assurances.

He told Chad this week: “I’m led to believe that Kellingley did not hit its target over the last two weeks because of geological issues and if you were a private investor, it does not look good.

“I’m particularly concerned what is happening at Kellingley because I do not want it dragging Thoresby down.

“We are still in the position where it could bang at any minute and everybody is out of a job today.

“The miners at Thoresby have worked in the most professional manner and have hit every target asked of them, and I think for another pit to put that in jeopardy is unacceptable.

“I’m panicking that it could close at any moment.

“Thoresby is one of the most efficient deep mines in the world and through no fault of their own, they find themselves in this position.”

UK Coal had initially denied that they were facing a cash crisis when contacted by the Chad in February after word of their financial problems had leaked.

But weeks later the company finally admitted it need millions urgently or they would close ‘within weeks’.

They blamed the global price of coal and the strength of the dollar against the pound for their predicament.

After news broke that the pit faced closure, the Union of Democratic Miners (UDM) put together figures in an effort to back their claims that the pit is still an attractive proposition.

They claim the pit is still profitable, and that £65 million worth of coal was still under Thoresby, which could be mined with start up costs of £19 million.

It could also extend the life of the colliery for another four or five years.

UK Coal were not available for comment.