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Monday, 8 October, 2001, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Production to start at rescued colliery
Hatfield colliery
There are millions of tonnes of coal in the Hatfield mine
Production is to start again at a South Yorkshire mine which went to the brink of closure before being saved from liquidation in September.

The Hatfield pit, near Doncaster, was mothballed in August but was rescued when private firm CoalPower stepped in.

Now the company, formed by Richard Budge, has announced it plans to start mining work again in November.

Mr Budge said: "Hatfield Colliery has the potential to become a long-life pit, sitting as it does on up to 100 million tonnes of contiguous coal reserves.

The strategic importance of Hatfield cannot be overstated

Richard Budge, CoalPower

"The initial operation is to bring the pit swiftly back to full production from the High Hazel, an extremely high quality seam of coal producting a grade housecoal and industrial coal."

He said phase two of the new production process would take place within six months, to access a seam known as Barclay Main.

Hatfield Colliery employs more than 200 people and has an estimated 20 years of coal left underground.

Strategic importance

Mr Budge, former chief executive of RJB Mining, which is now known as UK Coal, said: "The strategic importance of Hatfield cannot be overstated.

"We are delighted to have secured the licence from the Coal Authority.

"Hatfield is an important pit that can satisfy the market - there is a lot of coal being imported into the UK and we are going to be price- competitive."

Richard Budge
Mr Budge: Delighted to have licence for mine

A spokesman for the Coal Authority said it was pleased to announce Hatfield Colliery "will continue in operation".

John Delaney, Coal Authority corporate affairs manager, said handing production to Mr Budge's company minimised the burden on the public purse.

Hatfield Coal Company closed the colliery on 9 August 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.

During the crisis the Department of Trade and Industry ploughed in 200,000 to keep the pit maintained until a buyer was found.

See also:

12 Sep 01 | Business
Buyer named for struggling colliery
17 Apr 00 | Business
Coal industry's stay of execution
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