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UK Coal to close two underground mines

World Coal,

After recently appealing for urgent financial help, UK Coal has announced that it will close two of the last remaining deep coal mines in Britain.

The struggling company, which is the largest coal mining firm in Britain, said it would close Kellingley in Yorkshire, which employs 700 people, and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, which employs 600. It leaves the UK with just one deep coal pit – Hatfield in South Yorkshire.

The announcement follows just nine months after UK Coal was rescued from administration. It is now looking for an emergency injection of up to £20 million (€ 24 million, US$ 33 million), but this will not save the two pits.

"What we are looking at is a managed rundown of those two deep mines (Kellingley and Thoresby), and that would be over the next 18 months," said Andrew Mackintosh of UK Coal.

The bailout could also help save around 700 jobs from UK Coal's six remaining surface coal pits.

The global price of coal has dropped in recent months, partly because of the boom in US shale gas. This has displaced coal usage in America, with Europe now being inundated by cheap coal.

The Hatfield colliery is currently employee-owned after its workers bought it from banking group, ING.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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