Coal mine in the United Kingdom to close after fire

March 7, 2013

One of the last coal mines in the United Kingdom, Daw Mill colliery in Warwickshire, will soon close, taking with it as many as 650 jobs.

The decision to close mine comes after the largest coal mine fire in the United Kingdom in more than 30 years broke out at the mine in February.

The company said the fire is still burning ferociously at a depth of 740 m (2.400 ft), with no signs of it reducing despite ventilation being turned off to starve the flames of oxygen, The Guardian reported.

A small team will remain on site to secure the mine over the coming months but the owner, UK Coal Mine Holdings, said the majority of Daw Mill's 650-strong workforce will be made redundant.

Its chief executive, Kevin McCullough, said: "This has been a terrible week, not just for the company and its employees but also for the energy security of the country, as it brings an end to 47 years of coal production at Daw Mill."

The company's deep mines at Kellingley in North Yorkshire and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, together with its surface mines, will continue to produce coal for use in the UK's power stations.

It is the latest blow to the industry after Hargreaves Services said Maltby Main colliery near Rotherham, which has been producing coal for more than 100 years, was no longer viable for health and safety reasons.

UK Coal Mine Holdings is Britain's biggest coal producer, supplying about 5 percent of the UK's energy needs.

Daw Mill has been at risk of closure since last March when it was announced that a restructuring was needed to safeguard its medium-term future.

An overhaul of the business achieved "medium-term security", providing coal could be produced safely, reliably and efficiently.

McCullough said: "Having successfully completed the restructuring, and being only weeks away from returning to healthy production, this ferocious fire has dealt a blow to everything we tried to achieve over the last 12 months – in just 10 days."

The company said it was exploring the possible transfer of some staff to other mines.


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