"Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire, which employs 700 people, and Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire, which employs 600 people, will close within 18 months at the latest"
"Owner UK Coal is in talks with Government and the private sector to try to secure a bailout, understood to be worth close to £20m, to fund a so-called "managed" closure of the deep pits. If the talks fail, the pits will close imminently."
Given the potential energy security issues we may face over the next 20 years, I have mixed feeling about letting go for good of all of the UK's deep coal mining capability. Given the recent uncertainties over energy supplies across Europe and the fact that a fracking gas boom is nowhere near a done deal, it maybe wise to keep our options open for the time being.
If needed again quickly how do you start up a deep mining coal industry from scratch, once it has been closed down for good? If the answer to that is with very great difficulty then perhaps we should be careful to look after the industry in its minimal state, until such time as we can be absolutely certain that our need for UK deep mined coal is completely behind us.
Some government loans to allow UK Coal to diversify into fracking and mineral exploration would perhaps help gradually transition the company to a more profitable business model in the longer term. It would very much depend on how well the pay and conditions in the fracking industry will compare with the deep mine coal industry, and whether or not a large enough proportion of existing coal miners would be happy to move to more itinerant fracking work across the country.