Scottish Coal: Jobs taskforce holds first meeting

Open cast mining Scottish Coal has stopped production at its six open cast mines

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A taskforce set up after the collapse of one of Scotland's biggest coal-mining firms has held its first meeting.

Scottish Coal went into liquidation earlier this month, with the loss of almost 600 jobs.

The company operated open cast mines in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Fife.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said all those involved in the taskforce agreed to try to protect as many jobs as possible.

The group includes representatives of affected councils, the Coal Authority, the relevant unions, the Scottish government, environmental agency SEPA and the UK Government.

Local politicians representing the coalfield communities affected are also involved.

Mr Ewing said: "The taskforce includes a wide range of expertise linked to the open cast sector and will, I hope, help drive forward options to save and create jobs in the sector.

"The main outcome of today's meeting was the unanimous agreement that the objectives of the group should be the pursuit of an outcome that protects as many jobs as possible, maintains a sustainable business model for the sectors and restores the sites."

The taskforce is due to meet again next month.

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