Country’s last week of deep coal mining at Kellingley pit

Kellingley Colliery will close by the end of next week - marking the end of the country’s deep mining industry.

Friday, 11th December 2015, 7:00 am
Keith Poulson and Keith Hartshone from the NUM outside Kellingley Colliery, which will close next week

The pit’s operator UK Coal has announced the site will close by Friday, December 18, with the loss of 450 jobs.

The exact closure date depends on when the miners finish the coal face they are working on but the workers will lose their jobs just a week before Christmas.

Keith Poulson, branch officer for National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said: “It’s like being a convicted criminal on death row but the only difference is we know our date of doom.

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“I have just been clearing my office and when you do things like that it really hits home.

“The closure is getting very close now and we can almost hear the footsteps of the Government and the owners bearing down on us.”

In March, the Government said providing a £338m to keep both Kellingley and Thorseby open until 2018 would not be value for money.

Workers at Kellingley also shelved an employee buyout last year which would have seen the pit stay open until 2018.

Mr Poulson said: “I would love to see a knight in shining armour come in and save the pit but you’re looking at a cost of at least £50m before you’ve even started - it’s not going to happen.

“We have got to start preparing for the future now and part of that is accepting that this is the end of the deep coal-mining industry in ths country.”

A UK Coal spokesman said the closure was likely to be “towards the end of next week” but an exact date was yet to be confirmed.