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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 December, 2003, 17:59 GMT
Coal firm goes into administration
It is hoped a buyer for the pit will be found
More than 200 jobs at a South Yorkshire colliery are under threat after its owners went into administration.

Accountancy firm Ernst & Young has been appointed administrator to Coalpower, which runs Hatfield Colliery near Doncaster.

Ernst & Young said it would pay the wages of the company's 220 employees and was seeking a buyer for the business.

Coalpower was formed by the former boss of UK Coal, Richard Budge, to acquire the Hatfield Coal Company in 2001.

Rich history

Joint administrator Hunter Kelly said Hatfield had secured conditional approval for 15m from the government's coal investment aid scheme.

"Hatfield Colliery has a rich history and we are hopeful that a purchaser will come forward in the short term," Mr Kelly said.

"The colliery has suffered financially in recent years as a result of geological and mechanical problems on the existing coal face which has led to significantly lower levels of production than anticipated

"However, the mine has substantial coal reserves accessible via other coal faces and a plan exists to gain access to these reserves."

Company tribute

Kevin Hughes, the Labour MP for Doncaster North, said he had been assured the miners would continue to be paid while a buyer was sought.

He paid tribute to Coalpower for keeping Hatfield open for the past two years under difficult circumstances.

He also said that employees at the site had worked hard in difficult conditions.

"I will be doing all that I can to ensure that the Hatfield coal mine continues operating," said Mr Hughes.

"It has 80 million tonnes of accessible reserves of coal and is important for the nation's future electricity generating needs."

Jobs saved by 1m investment
28 Nov 03  |  South West Wales
Coal cash secures 4,000 jobs
27 Nov 03  |  England

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