Coal Investments shares suspended on mine talks

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Coal Investments, which returned to the market last year, were suspended yesterday as it negotiated with British Coal over the operation of three deep mines.

It is the preferred bidder to lease and license three mines: Coventry, Markham Main in Yorkshire and Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent.

Coal Investments, formerly the Geevor group and now run by Malcolm Edwards, former commercial director at British Coal, said talks with British Coal were at an advanced stage. Production at the mines has ceased because British Coal said that there was no market for its product. However, Mr Edwards is confident he has enough customers. He plans to avoid as far as possible sales to the electricity generators, National Power and PowerGen, because falling orders from the two have been blamed for the demise of British Coal.

British Coal, which the Government hopes to privatise this year, cannot sell mines outright. Private companies taking over the operation of mines will be restricted to allowing 150 employees to work underground at one time.

Last week British Coal said it was negotiating with RJ Budge, the mining firm, over the operation of Rossington colliery near Doncaster.

British Coal is inviting or considering bids to lease and license about eight more mines where production has already ceased.