Rossington Colliery Ceases Production
Press Release 31 st March 2006
Rossington Colliery Ceases Production:
COAL production ceases today (Friday) at Rossington Colliery with owners UK COAL confirming they are still actively trying to secure financial arrangements that will enable more of the reserves at the Doncaster mine to be developed.
The village pit has made multi-million pound losses in recent years since encountering geological problems which wiped out reserves being developed for future extraction.
Over 20m would now be needed to open up further reserves and equip a new face, with even more money required to improve the mine infrastructure to enable the mine to consistently perform at viable levels.
Says Chief Executive Gerry Spindler: "The men at Rossington have done an excellent job, often in geological conditions more difficult than any you experience in mining elsewhere in the world. There are still reserves remaining at Rossington, but they require a major investment which we just cannot finance at this time. However, we will continue our efforts to identify a partner who is willing to underwrite the investment, though the options are limited."
As from next week, miners at Rossington will start the process of preparing for the recovery of equipment, much of which will be refurbished before being installed at other mines with the appropriate conditions for its use. Employees at Rossington have been informed that the salvage operations could take around three months to complete.
Since UK COAL announced plans last summer to put Rossington on care and maintenance, 83 employees have left the mine, just under half of them to work at other UK COAL mines. While ongoing manpower requirements for the salvage operations will be reviewed on a weekly basis, it is expected most of the 224 people currently working there will be retained to prepare for the safe and efficient recovery of equipment. The exception will be a small group who have other jobs they wish to go to; they will be released as soon as is practicable.
Rossington was originally closed by British Coal in 1993. Since being reopened by the company the following year, the mine has produced
8.4 million tonnes of coal. However, output last year of 518,000 tonnes was 400,000 tonnes below target, and so far this year, the mine has produced just over 100,000 tonnes, only about half of its target.
Says UK COAL Production Director Bill Tinsley: "Rossington has made a major contribution to meeting our energy needs for over 80 years. But as we exploit reserves further from the pit shafts, they have become more disturbed by geological faulting which inhibits production, adding to both the mining and safety risks. With just a small parcel of coal left remaining on the current face, we have established reasonable conditions and have concluded it is now the right time to prepare the face for the recovery of equipment which can be put to more productive use elsewhere.
"However, nothing we do in the course of salvaging equipment will prohibit the development of the remaining reserves should the required funding become available.
"Our immediate focus is the recovery of equipment in a safe and efficient manner whilst continuing our efforts to secure the appropriate funding."
Much of the equipment to be recovered from Rossington would be technically unsuitable for the area to be mined should funding become available to develop additional reserves.
Closed by British Coal in 1993, Rossington was reopened in March the following year by the company now called UK COAL. Since being reopened, Rossington has produced 8.4 million tonnes of coal.
Situated 5.5km south east of Doncaster, Rossington has a history dating back to 1915 when two shafts were sunk. They were subsequently deepened in 1964 to 850 metres.
Production at Rossington ceased in April 1993 and in its last full year under British
Coal's management, produced 697,000 tonnes, though in its heyday, annual production regularly exceeded a million tonnes.
The colliery was one of 31 offered by the government to the private sector under "lease and licence" terms in 1993, and was reopened by UK COAL (formerly RJB Mining) a year later. UK COAL subsequently completed the purchase of the freehold of the site and secured an extension of the required operating licence from 10 to 25 years.
In recent years, Rossington has experienced major geological problems which wiped out reserves being accessed for future extraction and resulted in substantial financial losses.