Thoresby Colliery to close in July

Thoresby Colliery.
Thoresby Colliery.

Thoresby Colliery will close in July, coal bosses have confirmed.

The remaining workers at the pit, which is thought to be between 300 and 400, will be paid up until then, even if all the coal from the existing seam has been mined.

We tried everything we could within the rules

Hundreds have already been laid off as part of a winding-down operation since UK Coal announced last year that global coal prices had left it needing millions of pounds to remain open.

Union chiefs argued that the mine was still profitable with enough coal in the ground to keep miners employed for a number years, and raised concerns over Britain’s reliance on cheap, imported fuel.

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The Government pledged tens of millions of pounds to keep the pit running until its closure, but refused to bankroll a £338 lifeline to keep it open for another four years.

On a visit to the region last month, Prime Minister David Cameron even told Chad that the plan was not value for money.

Mr Cameron said: “We tried everything we could within the rules.

“If anyone looks at how much help we have given to UK Coal would see it’s been a very substantial package, and even now we are also providing the money for the concessionary coal, almost £30m, money to help write off particular debts, and money to help this company any way we can.

“We are limited by what you can do under the state aid rules and the £338m proposals I think was just too much, £75,000 per job for the next couple of years.

“I think any fair assessment of this Government would say it has stepped in and done everything it possibly could to help UK Coal.”

Thoresby is the last deep pit in Nottinghamshire, while Kellingley in South Yorkshire - also run by UK Coal - is also earmarked for closure.

The demise of the industry is being blamed on 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, UK Coal say it made it impossible to remain open.