500 jobs put at risk if South Yorkshire pit shuts

Maltby Colliery, Maltby.
Maltby Colliery, Maltby.
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UP to 500 jobs could be lost if one of South Yorkshire’s last two deep coal mines is forced to close because of major geological problems.

Hargeaves Services, which owns Maltby Colliery, has warned that the presence of gas, water and oil in a new face which is being developed has led to safety concerns.

The mine, which along with Hatfield pit in Doncaster is the last in use in the county, employs 500 people and has been producing a million tonnes of coal each year – much of which is burned at the Drax power plant in North Yorkshire.

Before the miners’ strike in 1984, there were 30 coal mines in South Yorkshire.

Hargreaves said that the future of Maltby pit depends on the outcome of investigations, which should be completed by the end of next month.

However, the firm said closure of the mine would not have a major impact on the business as its overall financial position was strong. But it could mean redundancy for staff.

Company chairman, Tim Ross, said: “If we are unable to work through the current issues with an acceptable level of risk, we are fortunate to have reached a point in the group’s overall strategic development when we are able to contemplate closing or mothballing the operation with minimal impact on growth.”

Hargreaves said if the panel was abandoned, it would ‘probably be uneconomic’ to switch to another’ due to a long gap in production. The firm said closure would be ‘disappointing’.