A Warwickshire coal mine ravaged by fire for nearly two weeks will definitely close, its owners announced today, likely spelling the end of most jobs for the 650-strong workforce.
UK Coal Mine Holdings and Coalfield Resources said the Daw Mill Colliery will not reopen as the underground fire still burns on.
Although such fires aren’t uncommon, it is the largest underground blaze seen in a UK coal mine in more than 30 years, said the firms, continuing to burn “ferociously” at a depth of 740m with no sign of waning. That’s despite turning off the ventilation to starve the fire of oxygen.
Losing the coal from the mine, which gave a third of the UK’s coal for power, is “terrible” news for keeping the lights on, according to the new CEO of UK Coal.
Kevin McCullough, Chief Executive for UK Coal Mine Holdings said: “This has been a terrible week, not just for the company and its employees but also for the energy security of the country, as it brings an end to 47 years of coal production at Daw Mill.
“Having successfully completed the restructuring and being only weeks away from returning to healthy production, this ferocious fire has dealt a blow to everything we tried to achieve over the last 12 months – in just ten days.”
Other mines are working as normal, he added: “The deep mines at Kellingley and Thoresby, together with the surface mines, continue to produce coal for use in the UK’s power stations.”
The firm is looking at whether Daw Mill employees can be moved to other mines but it seems unlikely there will be jobs for everyone.
Mr McCullough added: “Regrettably however, this news is likely to see the majority of the Daw Mill workforce being made redundant and our thoughts and best wishes are with these colleagues and their families at this difficult time.”