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Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 09:08 GMT
Debate into troubled mine's future
Coal mine
UK Coal discovered two underground faults
A crucial debate to discuss the future of West Yorkshire's last deep mine will be held in Parliament on Wednesday.

The MP for Selby, John Grogan, will be raising the future of Yorkshire's coal industry - including the threatened Prince of Wales colliery at Pontefract.

The pit is currently the subject of an independent review after owners UK Coal reported a bad geological survey which would make coal too expensive to mine.

But the claim is disputed by the National Union of Miners and pithead deputies union, Nacods.

Underground faults

The result of the independent review, paid for by the Department of Trade and Industry, is expected in late January or early February.

In the first debate on the coal industry since the general election, Mr Grogan will ask the government to extend its coal-aid subsidies scheme when the current programme finishes in the summer.

Selby MP John Grogan
Mr Grogan will be looking to win mining cash

The move comes after pit owner UK Coal revealed they had found geological problems at Prince of Wales colliery which would probably make it too expensive to work.

But staff at the mine say there could be other seams of coal worth mining, away from the seam under dispute, which is called Wentedge.

More than 400 workers at the colliery, Pontefract, could lose their jobs when coal seams run out next summer, after the discovery by owners UK Coal of two underground faults.

The discovery of the flaws means the shelving of a multi-million pound development to gain access to eight million tonnes of untapped coal reserves in the Wentedge seam.

The mine, the last working mine in the Wakefield area, is the oldest colliery still in production in the UK and has a history dating back to the 1860s.

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See also:

12 Sep 01 | Business
Buyer named for struggling colliery
14 Mar 01 | Business
The changing face of UK jobs
06 Mar 01 | Business
Coal firm unveils land sales
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