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Coal mining comes to an end in South Yorkshire

The last piece of coal was handed over to the Mayor of Doncaster

Taken at noon, the picture (above) of the last piece of coal mined at Hatfield Colliery, marks the end of coal mining in Doncaster and South Yorkshire as a whole.

As recently as 1980 there were 10 deep mines in Doncaster employing more than 17,000 men. There were 46 deep mines in South Yorkshire employing nearly 50,000 men.

This Monday, it is expected that Hatfield Colliery Partnership Ltd will be wound up in court and the site handed over to the Official Receiver and the Coal Authority.

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Monckton cokeworks to close at the end of December

The UK's last independent coke works is to close this month - ending 130 years of production - after failing to weather competition from cheaper Chinese rivals.

Editorial image Credit: Press Association

The Monckton site near Barnsley in South Yorkshire has struggled to secure enough long-term contracts amid "unprecedented turmoil" in European coke markets.

Owner Hargreaves Services confirmed the closure plan today after announcing in October that it would consult the 130-strong workforce about plans to close the plant.

It said there had been no significant improvement in market conditions or customer demand since the initial announcement.

The company pledged to look for alternative employment opportunities for staff, both within the wider company and externally.

The plant, which supplies coke destined for use in glass, detergents and steel manufacturing, has been hit because Chinese coke suppliers are able to undercut international prices.

It had been expected to make a profit of £2 million in the current financial year to May but the company said the outlook beyond this year was "very poor" given current market prices.

Hargreaves employs 2,700 people in operations ranging from the importing of coal and coke to bulk haulage.

Last year it closed the Maltby coal mine, near Rotherham, although it still has nine surface mines, including seven in Scotland.

It said today that surface mining operations were performing well but warned that 2016 forward coal prices have fallen by a further £4 per tonne in the last three months. Shares fell by more than 13%.

Drax upgrade

Drax Credit: Calendar

A modernisation project costing £100m is about to be completed at Drax Power Station. The five year long development has seen an upgrade of the turbines. The aim is this will make it more energy efficient.

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