York & North Yorkshire

Miners rally against Kellingley Colliery closure

Kellingley Colliery
Image caption Kellingley Colliery is scheduled to close later this year with the loss of hundreds of jobs

Miners at a North Yorkshire coal mine set to close this year have staged a rally to call on the government to provide funds to keep it open.

Kellingley Colliery is set to close in 2015 with the loss of about 700 jobs.

Workers, MPs, and union leaders marched through Knottingley and held a rally at Kellingley Social Club.

In August, Business Secretary Vince Cable said giving government funds to keep the mine open "wouldn't be good value for money".

UK Coal announced plans in April for a managed closure of the colliery due to "extremely difficult trading conditions" and in September secured £4m from government to support the plan.

Chris Kitchen, from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said: "Kellingley has about 30 years worth of coal and we know that we're going to be burning coal in this country to generate electricity... the majority of that now is imported.

"It's not that we're trying to keep Kellingley open for some kind of historic reason, there's a use for the fuel and there's a use for the fuel going forward that's mined at Kellingley."

A report prepared for the NUM said the mine could remain open until 2018 with help additional from the government.

Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford Yvette Cooper said: "If the government doesn't act fast it will be too late.

"The cost of keeping Kellingley open is going up week after week because there's been no investment in new faces. Yet the government is just dragging its feet trying to kill off the pit by stealth."

A government spokesman said: "We have now received a plan from the company and will look carefully at their proposal, bearing in mind that we must make sure that taxpayers receive value for money."

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