England

UK Coal seeks financial help to keep mines open

Thoresby Colliery
Image caption Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire is one of only two remaining deep mines

UK Coal is appealing for urgent financial help which it says is required to keep its mines open.

The coal mining firm says it is in advanced talks to raise "at least £10m" needed and is working with the government and private investors.

Andrew Mackintosh from UK Coal said the firm was "very confident" of being able to get the cash and find a long-term investor in the business.

It currently owns eight pits across England, employing 2,000 people.

UK Coal currently has two working deep mines - Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire and Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire.

It also has surface mines operating in Northumberland, County Durham, Derbyshire, Shropshire and Leicestershire with six more proposed sites across the country.

'Difficult days ahead'

Mr Mackintosh blamed the firm's latest financial problems on the global market with falling coal prices on top of a fire which destroyed, and subsequently closed, its Daw Mill Colliery in Warwickshire.

Last year the firm said it had gone into administration as a result of the fire.

Mr Mackintosh added: "We do need that investment, It is important for the future.

"There are difficult days ahead but at the moment everything's looking positive as far as discussions are concerned.

"We have got to make sure discussions are completed soon so we can start talking about where we go from here."

In November, Chancellor George Osbourne announced a financial boost for pit workers following UK Coal's administration.

Conservative MP for Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, Mark Spencer, said he had been working with energy minister Michael Fallon and trade unions for the last month.

He said: "We knew this challenge was coming and have been working to secure a deal for the last month.

"This has been a fairly traumatic few weeks and luckily we are much closer to finalising something.

"Without this money the firm would be in receivership. It will mean the closure of the collieries. But there are too many people with a vested interest in making sure that doesn't happen.

"There is still £80m worth of coal still under the ground at Thoresby so investing the money now will secure those jobs and ensure that Thoresby, and the business, can continue to make a profit."

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