ENERGY Minister Brian Wilson has warned Selby mineworkers they have only a few hours left to register compensation claims for Vibration White Finger.

The deadline for making claims for the crippling hand condition which could be worth thousands of pounds expires at the end of today, he warned.

But relatives of pitmen who died without lodging a claim for VWF have an extra three months to lodge claims, he announced.

Posthumous claims can still be lodged after the original cut-off date of October 31, said Mr Wilson.

He said: "After listening to the views of MPs, solicitors and mining unions, it became clear that some people in coalfield communities are still not aware they can submit VWF claims in respect of dead relatives."

This would not become a "point of dispute of subsequent recrimination," he said.

Mr Wilson revealed compensation paid to miners suffering from the painful hand condition had now topped £630 million.

Updated: 17:04 Thursday, October 31, 2002