The UK has been left with just one deep coal mine after the closure of a pit yesterday, with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
The closure of Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire was announced last year after owner UK Coal fell into financial trouble.
The colliery’s 600 workers have since been gradually laid off, the remaining 360 leaving yesterday. Jonson Cox, chairman of UK Coal, which yesterday changed its name to Coalfield Resources, said it completed the restructuring of the business that began in March 2012.
Cox said: “I’m delighted that we’ve succeeded in completing it. Without it, it was almost certain that the coal mines would have been unable to trade beyond the first quarter of 2013.”
He said it had been “a restructuring of unprecedented scale and complexity for this size of company, dealing with a legacy structure that was inherited on the privatisation of British Coal in 1994”.
It marks the end of the coal industry in Nottinghamshire, and leaves Kellingley in Yorkshire as the only deep pit in the UK – although that mine is due to close at the end of the year.
A government spokesman said: “We’ve been working closely with UK Coal throughout this difficult time, doing all we can to help. That has included providing a £4 million loan to prevent the mines from closing last year which allowed the company to deliver its managed closure plan.
“Subject to the necessary EU clearances, the government will meet the company’s concessionary fuel obligations to its employees, with an estimated value of £28m.
“The company also indicated an additional funding requirement of £10m to keep its existing managed closure plan for 2015 on track. The government is willing in principle to provide additional support to help deliver the plan, subject to conditions including state aid approval.”