UK’s Hatfield Colliery set to close

30 June 2015 (Last Updated June 30th, 2015 18:30)

Hatfield Colliery near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, UK, will be shutdown by the end of the week, resulting 430 job losses.

Hatfield Mine

Hatfield Colliery near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, UK, will be shutdown by the end of the week, resulting 430 job losses.

UK's Prospect union said that the employee-owned coal mine will stop producing coal with immediate effect.

The closure of the mine, which currently has 500 employees, is taking place earlier from the planned shutdown that is set to take place in summer 2016.

Prospect negotiator Mike Macdonald told Reuters that the mine failed to sell its coal due to refusal by the UK Government to sponsor coal contracts with generators.

Hatfield Colliery spokesman Micheal O'Sullivan told BBC: "We can't find a market for the coal, so there is no point in producing it."

Hatfield Colliery had secured a £20m grant from the UK Government in May and a £4m loan from the National Union of Mineworkers in 2014 to support its planned closure in August 2016.

UK Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise Anna Soubry said: "Since being advised of this position, the government has done all it can to assist the directors of Hatfield, including re-iterating its earlier commitment to provide up to £20m towards the costs covered by the state aid approval to help the company achieve an orderly and safe closure.

"Despite this, the directors have concluded it is not economically viable to continue mining and so took the decision to stop coal production on 30 June 2015.

"Countries that have large coal industries are likely to continue producing and using coal for some time, but it's very difficult for the smaller UK mines to compete as alternative and renewable sources of power continue to grow."

Commenting on the mine closure, Warwick Business School Global Energy professor David Elmes said: "News that the Hatfield Colliery has to close is grim news for the people working there but a result of international factors as well as UK policies.

"The mine's managers also blame a rise in tax paid by UK power companies that burn coal to make electricity.

"Countries that have large coal industries such as China, India and Australia are likely to continue producing and using coal for some time, but it's very difficult for the smaller UK mines to compete as alternative and renewable sources of power continue to grow."

Also known as Hatfield Main Colliery, the Hatfield Colliery was established 1916 within the South Yorkshire Coalfield and is around 1.6km northwest of Hatfield.

British Labour party MP Ed Miliband said: "After nearly 100 years of mining at Hatfield, this is an incredibly sad day for the miners, their families and the wider community.

"The workers expected the mine to close in August 2016. But instead of a managed transition the government pulled the plug."


Image: Hatfield Mine is producing coal under Richard Budge's Powerfuel company. Photo: courtesy of Jeff Pearson.