Doncaster MP Ed Miliband has slammed a decision to close Doncaster’s last remaining deep coal mine describing the move as “devastating”.
Speaking at employee owned Hatfield Colliery today Mr Miliband said “This is a deeply devastating day for miners, their families and indeed for the wider community and for South Yorkshire as this is the last deep mine in South Yorkshire.”
Mr Miliband, who has called a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday on the issue, said the government has “pulled the plug”.
John Grogan, Chairman of Hatfield Colliery Employment Benefit Trust, has confirmed that the mine, one of the three remaining deep coal mines in the country which first produced coal in 1916, faces closure a year early following a refusal by the Government to provide more assistance.
He said that faced with dramatic falls in world coal prices earlier this year the Government agreed to provide up to £20 million of aid approved by the European Union to Hatfield to enable it to complete its business plan and mine until planned closure in Summer 2016.
He said:“The problem was that whilst one arm of Government was agreeing a grant to Hatfield another arm was at almost exactly the same time doubling their very own top-up carbon levy from £9.54 to £18.08 per tonne of CO2.
“As the Confederation of Coal Producers has repeatedly warned the Government the inevitable result was that the energy companies stockpiled coal in advance of the increase in April destroying the market for Hatfield coal. Our local MP Ed Miliband approached the big electricity generators on our behalf after the Government declined to do so and we have been able to secure some offers for two thirds of the expected production over the next year including one from EDF Energy.
“Given the mountains of coal at the power stations these offers are at much reduced prices and we would need an extra £12 million from Government to complete our plan and mine until next year.”