South Yorkshire's 'King Coal' dies

Richard Budge
Richard Budge
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The South Yorkshire businessman whose reign over the UK’s pits earned him the nickname 'King Coal' has died.

Richard Budge, aged 69, who ran Doncaster-based RJB Mining, bought 17 deep mines, 30 surface mines, over 400 million tonnes of reserves and nearly 50,000 acres of land for £815 million in the 1990s.

His firm became the biggest independently owned coal production business in Europe.

He invested his energies and much of his personal wealth in securing a future for Hatfield colliery, near Doncaster, which had substantial reserves.

He was the driving force behind the foundation of the Confederation of UK Coal Producers, a campaign group which for the first time gave independent producers a voice in the corridors of power.

Mr Budge was a married father of two, with five grandchildren.

He died following a nine-year battle with prostate cancer on Monday, July 18 at a hospice in Retford.