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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 05:32 GMT 06:32 UK
'Superpit' closes after 28 years
Miner
The closure of the Selby 'superpit' sees the end of 1,700 jobs
Yorkshire's once-mighty coal industry has shrunk still further - with the closure of the Selby "superpit".

The final shifts have gone underground at the mine, which covers 110 square miles, an area the size of the Isle of Wight.

The Selby complex, which opened in October 1976, provided more than 3,500 jobs at its busiest.

Just 200 miners have found work at other collieries since the closure was announced in July 2002.

Three remain

In the 1980s, there were 175 coal mines in the UK, with nearly 60 in Yorkshire, employing more than 170,000 miners.

Today, there are 11, employing 3,000 miners, with only three in Yorkshire - Kellingley in West Yorkshire, Maltby near Rotherham and Rossington near Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

The Selby complex consisted of five pits and one drift mine, where the output was brought to the surface.

The Whitemoor and North Selby pits closed in the 1990s. Wistow and Stillingfleet ceased production this year.

'Madhouse politics'

Tuesday's closure of the Riccall mine goes ahead because it is uneconomic to extract, said owners UK Coal.

When it opened, the Selby Coalfield was praised by the government as a "striking symbol of the re-birth of coal as a major energy source".

A spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers said: "There's 100 million tonnes of untapped coal there, enough for at least 100 years, and we're heading for an energy crisis.

"It's the politics of the madhouse."




SEE ALSO:
Memories of the miners' strike
12 Mar 04  |  Working Lunch
Record coal producing pit closes
13 May 04  |  North Yorkshire
Long-running mine dispute ends
11 Jun 04  |  West Yorkshire
Final day of mining at doomed pit
30 Jul 04  |  North Yorkshire
Coal group sinks deeper into red
08 Sep 04  |  South Yorkshire



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