Coal miners say they have been given a “lifeline” after the government loaned £8 million to the Hatfield Colliery in Yorkshire.
The short-term loan is to help the mine’s owner manage its closure in stages. A first chunk of £2 million was given on New Year’s Eve (31 December).
The National Union of Miners welcomed the loan, saying 500 jobs are directly at stake.
Hatfield Colliery Partnership (HCPL) first contacted the Government last November with fears that “unfavourable coal prices” and other issues put the business in jeopardy, according to a ministerial statement.
Announcing the loan on Wednesday in a written statement to parliament, Energy Minister Matthew Hancock said: “The short-term loan will provide time for further consideration of the case for a longer term loan to allow HCPL to continue operating until 2016.”
He added: “We expect the loan to be paid back in full.”