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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Closure pit gets cash lifeline
Hatfied colliery
Efforts are being made to find a buyer for the pit
A struggling colliery will receive government funding to keep it in working order while a buyer is found, it has been announced.

The Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, will receive 50,000 a week for four weeks from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The pit closed on 9 August with the loss of 223 jobs, despite having 20 years of coal left underground.

Announcing the funding, Energy Minister Brian Wilson said: "I want to maximise the chances of a buyer for the colliery being found."

Explore options

Hatfield Coal Company closed the colliery on advice from the DTI and the Coal Authority, despite having agreed terms for long-term supply to the Drax power station.

The company said it could not secure the finance to continue trading after the main funder, a Japanese bank, pulled out of the project.

Brian Wilson, Energy Minister
Energy Minister Brian Wilson announced the funding

The DTI funding will prolong efforts to find a new buyer as the cost of reopening a mine increases once care and maintenance of a site is stopped.

"Earlier attempts to find a purchaser failed, but it is important that all options have been fully explored, said Mr Wilson.

"I recognise the importance of Hatfield Colliery to the local community, and also the fact that extensive resources of coal that lie within it.

"The next four weeks must be used to produce a conclusive answer on whether there is a commercial future for the mine."

See also:

17 Apr 00 | Business
Coal industry's stay of execution
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