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Mining: Union loan saves pit

Hatfield Colliery in South Yorkshire, one of the three remaining deep British mines, has been handed a lifeline in the shape of a £4 million loan by the National Union of Mineworkers.

The jobs of 440 miners, besides those of many others in the supply chain, were at risk from a gap in production while a new coal face is developed. The loan gives the miners, who collectively bought the pit in 2013, a full 12 months to begin to unlock the many millions of tonnes of coal which remain below the surface.

The new face has, initially, 18 months of production in it, but the loan buys the mine time to secure long-term contracts from the coal-fired power generators.

Here is an opportunity to put right the economic madness of developing clean coal technology at nearby Drax power station while burning imported Russian and Colombian coal.

Britain’s capacity to be self-reliant in energy clings on by its fingertips. An analysis of these developments will appear in the next issue of Workers.