Owner Hargreaves Services says pit no longer viable “on health and safety, geological, and financial grounds”
Maltby Colliery – one of the south Yorkshire pits that saw picketing violence during the 1980s miners’ strike and one of the UK’s last remaining deep coal mines – is to be mothballed by its owner, industrial materials group Hargreaves Services.
The move, which puts 500 jobs at the 100-year-old pit at risk, comes after the company said that the site was no longer “viable on health and safety, geological, and financial grounds” and follows a company consultation about its future that was launched last month.
In a statement to the stock exchange, the Aim-listed group said:
Since the commencement of collective consultation on 8th October 2012 geological reports have been received which indicate that the risks associated with mining the T125 panel have not significantly reduced.
It is therefore, with regret, in the opinion of the board of Maltby Colliery Ltd the T125 panel is not viable on health and safety, geological, and financial grounds. Consequently the board is proposing that T125 will not be mined and that the mine will be mothballed.
Regrettably, the board’s proposal inevitably means that all employees working at Maltby Colliery continue to be at risk of redundancy.
When Hargreaves Services bought the colliery from UK Coal in 2007, mining was expected to continue there until 2015. However, in May 2012 the company said “unusual geological conditions” had emerged, with excess levels of water, gas and oil, which could lead to the colliery closing.
The news from Maltby mirrors the gloom that has surrounded another deep mine, Daw Mill mine in Arley near Coventry, which owner UK Coal has threatened to shut if it cannot reach an agreement with unions on pay and new shift patterns. The coal-mining company has begun a consultation over a proposal to close in early 2014, which jeopardises 800 jobs.
While the news of Maltby’s mothballing represents another blow to British miners, investors seem less concerned by the news. Shares in Hargreaves Services were up under 1% in early trading at around 730p.