Struggling Hatfield Colliery has been handed a £4 million lifeline by the National Union of Mineworkers.
The employee-owned pit has been given the bailout aimed at extending the life of the mine – the last remaining operational pit in South Yorkshire and set to be the last remaining deep mine in Britain, following the closure of Kellingley and Thoresby collieries next year.
The NUM has agreed to invest the money in the business by providing a commercial loan which will be repaid within a year.
The cash will provide important bridging funds to the colliery to start mining the next coalface within weeks. John Grogan, Chair of Hatfield Employee Benefit Trust, which operates the mine under the Hatfield Colliery Partnership umbrella, said: “I am delighted that the NUM have stepped up to the mark and joined our other commercial partner Hargreaves who have provided valuable support to the mine over the last year. The NUM’s decision to provide us with a loan is a vote of confidence in the mine and particularly the nearly 500 people who earn their living here.”
Doncaster North MP and Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the NUM’s intervention and said: “Hatfield is now the last operational pit in South Yorkshire, so it is vitally important efforts are made to preserve it and save the jobs of the people employed there and the jobs it helps to create at companies who supply the pit.”
He added: “I don’t want Doncaster’s coal heritage to be lost.”
Mr Miliband has been involved in a series of meetings to secure the future of the pit following 70 job losses there last autumn.
Mr Grogan concluded: “The granting of the loan by the NUM has given us time to make the case to the generators and to Government that the last deep coal mine in the country not to announce its closure deserves a future.
“We owe it to all those who have gone before us not to go quietly into the good night.”