Coal imports put miners’ jobs at risk

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SCOTLAND’S coal industry has warned that cheap imports are putting jobs at risk, with hundreds of jobs at risk as a result.

Scottish Resources Group, which owns Scottish Coal, has told 450 miners they could be facing redundancy as it struggles with financial difficulties.

The firm said competition from overseas and the impact of cheap imports have put global prices at “record low levels”.

It is understood to be downsizing to two locations, with its mines at St Ninian’s in Fife, Mainshill in South Lanarkshire, and Binston Hill and Dalfond, both East Ayrshire, said to be closing this year. Scottish Coal employs 758 people, with 300 jobs safe.

SRG has said there would be “a temporary reduction in productive capacity” until the new sites were commercially viable.

A spokesman said the mines may not close permanently, but they are being put on hold pending economic investment.

He added: “We do expect prices to rise, which will allow companies like SRG to re-establish former levels of production.”

The National Union of Mineworkers said fracking – the controversial gas exploration technique – in America, has also forced down the price of coal and created a short-term cash flow problem for the firm.