Hargreaves steps in to save Scottish coal miners’ jobs

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More than 200 jobs Scottish coal jobs have been saved after energy and waste services group Hargreaves Services agreed to buy “certain assets” of miner Aardvark, which is being wound up.

Aardvark is owned by Doncaster-based ATH Resources and has all its open-cast mines in Scotland. ATH fell into administration in December and Aardvark has now appointed Mark Granville Firmin, Brian Green and Howard Smith of KPMG as joint liquidators.

Hargreaves, which bought ATH’s debt from private equity firm Better Capital in March, said it would also seek to buy Aardvark’s operational sites at Duncanziemere and Netherton in Ayrshire.

The firm’s chief executive, Gordon Banham, said the acquisition of land and assets from Aardvark will boost its reserves. It estimates that the proven coal reserves at sites with planning permissions are in excess of 3 million tonnes, with a further 2 million at sites that are in the planning process.

Banham added: “This transaction brings to an end a long and complex restructuring process. Whilst it has been a lengthy and difficult exercise, we are very pleased with the end result.

“In comparison with an unstructured liquidation, we have saved or created over 230 jobs and been able to continue mining operations at two of the key sites.”

Hargreaves was last week confirmed as preferred bidder to acquire some of the coal-mining assets of the failed Scottish Resources Group.