Struggling deep mines hit UK coal output in July
London, 27 September (Argus) — UK coal production fell by around around 23pc on the month in July, as a number of deep experienced technical problems, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).
UK coal production fell to 1.3mn t from 1.69mn t in June. Deep mines produced 570,782t, the lowest since February. Surface mining production also fell, to 685,014t, from 929,086t in June.
Mining firm UK Coal has experienced continuing problems at its Daw Mill mine in Warwickshire, and recently announced more at Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, while a third deep mine also faces challenges.
UK producer and mining services firm Hargreaves Services said in May that its Maltby deep mine in South Yorkshire risks closure or mothballing if “significant geological problems” are not resolved.
The current panel, T15, is operating as planned but excess gas, oil and water encountered during preparation of a new panel, T125, prompted the firm to forecast a gap in production of 12-16 weeks as operations transition from T15 to T125. Further gas issues are “adding delays and risk” to the development of the panel.
The T15 panel is due to conclude operations in the first week of November, with T125 expected to begin in mid-February — a gap of 15 weeks. But if the presence of gas, oil and water pose a safety risk to employees, “we will not attempt to mine the T125 panel”, chief executive Gordon Banham has said. If this is the case, the mine is likely to close, because it would be “uneconomic to switch production to a later panel”, Banham said.
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