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UK Coal closes Daw Mill mine with loss of 650 jobs

07 March 2013

The largest remaining UK deep mine, Daw Mill Colliery, is to close and 650 jobs will be lost following a major underground fire. The mine, situated near Nuneaton in Central England, saw the fire break out at a depth of 740 metres last month, and it is still burning fiercely, owner UK Coal said.

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

Chief executive Kevin McCullough said in a statement: "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 Nottingham, 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 UK coal industry after Hargreaves Services said it would close Maltby Colliery in Rotherham on health and safety grounds at the end of 2012, with the loss of 540 jobs.

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

Daw Mill has been at risk of closure since March last year when it was announced that a restructuring was needed to safeguard its medium-term future. A complex overhaul of the business achieved "medium-term security" for the mine, providing it was able to produce coal safely, reliably and efficiently.

Mr 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.

It is also in discussions with officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change over managing the closure of Daw Mill and seeking a way forward for the remaining mines.

About 56 million tonnes of coal is estimated to remain at the site.  

UK Coal employs almost half of Britain's 6,000 remaining coal miners.

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