Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Business: The Economy
Colliery becomes sushi factory
For once, not getting your hands dirty
A factory producing the fashionable Japanese delicacy sushi has been opened on the site of a disused colliery.
The Solway Foods factory near Worksop in the East Midlands, England, hopes to employ 400 staff by the end of the year.
Mark Orwin, a former miner who admits he had never heard of sushi, is one of the miners from the closed Manton Wood colliery who has retrained to work at the factory.
"There's a lot of machinery to work. I used to work a lot of machinery down the pit although it is obviously different stuff here, smaller of course, but you can get on with it," he said in his work outfit of hygienic white overalls and cloth hood.
Solway Foods, which also makes sandwiches at the factory, has started making sushi ahead of its launch later this month in the freezer cabinets of a national supermarket chain.
It predicts that the UK wide market for sushi will top £10m by the end of the year.
Neil Adnitt, Solway's production director, said: "The workforce has been very, very adaptable.
The sushi factory is one of a range of new industries which have been attracted to coalfield communities across the UK with the aim of diversifying their economies and bringing new jobs to areas which have lost mining jobs.
In the last 15 years, more than 150,000 jobs have been lost in the UK coal industry, with less than 20,000 remaining.
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