Hope still alive for Kellingley mine, MP says
Updated 10:10am Monday 14th April 2014 in News
SELBY MP Nigel Adams has said the door is still open for private investment to save North Yorkshire's last deep pit mine.
Struggling Kellingley Colliery was granted a "stay of execution" last week when the government agreed a £10 million loan to help manage its closure over the next 18 months.
But, Mr Adams said, the government scheme gives owners UK Coal more time to find commercial help which might secure the pit's long term future.
In a statement to the Commons on Thursday Energy Minister Michael Fallon's said the deal, which includes another £10 million of private funding, would not rule out any future investment or take over that may extend the life of the pit.
Otherwise Kellingley and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, which together employ 1,300 people, will wind down by autumn next year.
Mr Adams said: "I welcome the fact that the business will not collapse overnight as would have happened if the Government had not stepped in and as the Minister made clear, any private sector investor is welcome to put in the investment if they wish to extend the mine's life beyond 2015."
The NUM has spoken out against the closure plans, saying government money would be better spent saving jobs than shutting the mines down and putting workers on the dole.
General Secretary Chris Kitchen said it was a "slap in the face" for miners, and was especially tough for the nine miners taken on in January.
"Some of them gave up other careers to take jobs in mining, and UK Coal said there was 10 to 15 years in Kellingley."
European sanctioned state aid is helping German and Polish mines stay open until 2018, and possibly longer, Mr Kitchen said, but the British Government had rejected calls to use similar schemes to help the beleaguered UK industry.
The Minister's statement said: "He said: “There is no value-for-money case for a level of investment that would keep the deep mines open beyond this managed wind-down period to autumn 2015."
Mr Kitchen added: "The miners are devastated, and confused as to why the British Government will pay money to put them on the dole, but not to keep them in work."
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