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MP expresses frustration over plight of Thoresby

World Coal,

Mark Spencer, the conservative member of parliament for Sherwood, has expressed frustration that little is being done to preserve any kind of future for the Thoresby coal mine.

It is thought more than 200 jobs - a third of the workforce - has already been shed from the pit since it was announced that UK Coal would wind down the operation, along with Kellingley in South Yorkshire, before closing both next year.

They said they needed more than £20m to keep it going until then, including a £10m injection from the Government.

But Spencer says they are still yet to take the cash, and time is running out.

According to Chard, The Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) said that up to £65 million worth of coal could still be mined from Thoresby, with start-up costs from as little as £19 million, but with the global price of coal remaining low, they have failed to attract interest.

Without the Government money, Spencer fears extending its future is diminishing rapidly. He said: “They (UK Coal) are still messing around. The Government are still stood there with a £10 million cheque in its hand saying ‘we are here to help’ [but] How can we help if they still won’t take the cheque?”

“It might seem like good news that they don’t need to take the money to continue, but we are behind in the development work at Thoresby to continue in to the next coal face,” Spencer continued. “They are removing coal from the current face, but that’s only bringing the closure of the pit closer.”

“There are too many parties trying to justify their position and not solving the long-term future of the colliery. It’s so frustrating,” Spencer added. “It’s been a week away for six months but we still want to get this plan up and running. Who knows what can be done. The longer they delay the closer it gets to being unsavable.”

UK Coal have denied that they are ‘dragging their heels’ and said they are still working towards a ‘managed closure’.

Spokesman Alison Reid said: “These deals take time, it’s not a case of UK Coal not taking money that has been on the table, you have got to have negotiations.”

“There is no change really, the deal is that we are talking to the Government on a regular basis. It’s business as usual under difficult circumstances and we are moving forward,” Reid concluded.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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