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Hatfield Colliery closure speeds up UK exit from deep coal mining

30 June 2015

One of the last three deep coal mines in the UK is to be closed in early July with the loss of 430 jobs. Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was due to shut in the summer of 2016 but the move has been brought forward unexpectedly. Michael O'Sullivan, spokesman for the colliery, said: "We can't find a market for the coal, so there is no point in producing it."

In April, Britain's carbon tax, which charges power producers for each tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) they emit, almost doubled to £18.08 per tonne to encourage utilities to switch fuels, as coal-fired power generation produces almost double the amount of CO2 as gas-fired plants.

Hatfield along with Kellingley in North Yorkshire and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire was the last of the UK's deep seam mines.

O'Sullivan said there was sufficient money to pay all "contractual undertakings" for the workers. He said the closure was "in no way due to failings of the workforce or management". The pit has been run by an employee-owned trust since 2013.

External factors such as low coal prices, a switch to renewable energy and large coal stocks have made a set of "almost unprecedented circumstances", he added.

The BBC said work to backfill the mine shafts is set to begin on Friday.

In May, a government grant of £20m was aimed to provide Hatfield Colliery Partnership with support until its planned closure in August 2016. Last year the colliery also secured a £4m loan from the National Union of Mineworkers

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