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Thousands of jobs at risk as pits face closure

Two of Britain's three remaining deep pit coal mines face closure in the next 18 months under plans announced by the country's largest coal producer.

UK Coal is consulting on plans to shut Kellingley in Yorkshire, which employs 700 people, together with Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, which employs 600. It will leave employee-owned Hatfield colliery in South Yorkshire as Britain's last remaining deep pit mine.

Jobs are also likely to go at UK Coal's head office in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

It will mean the majority of the 2,000 people currently employed by UK Coal - which also operates six surface sites - facing a bleak future, just nine months after it was rescued from administration.

The firm is hoping to secure an emergency cash injection of up to £20 million through a combination of funding from the Government and the private sector but will still need to make the cut backs even if it succeeds.

A spokesman said: "We have started today consultations with the unions on looking at the way forward - that is, looking at reducing numbers in the coming months. We are looking to secure the best outcome possible."

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Up to 600 jobs at risk at Thoresby colliery

Nottinghamshire's Thoresby colliery will close by the end of next year at the latest, as part of a phased scaling-down of mines by UK Coal.

The company - the UK's largest coal producer - currently employs 2,000 people across the country, including around 600 at Thoresby.

A miner at work at Thoresby colliery in November last year
A miner at work at Thoresby colliery in November last year Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

It is currently in talks for an emergency cash injection of between £10 million and £20 million from the government and the private sector to continue operating until the end of 2015.

It comes after competition from cheap imported coal put pressure on business.

A spokesman for the firm said cutbacks would be made even if the emergency cash is secured.

We have started today consultations with the unions on looking at the way forward - that is, looking at reducing numbers in the coming months.

We are looking to secure the best outcome possible.

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