Colliery shut by British Coal heads back towards the black

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The Independent Online
A COLLIERY shut by British Coal is heading for a profit within months of being taken over by management in a pounds 3m buyout, writes Mary Fagan. The Betws mine in Ammanford, Dyfed, which was closed last year with the loss of 144 jobs, is expected to start making a profit before Christmas.

The pit now employs 90 and produces 2,500 tonnes of anthracite a week. Unlike most of British Coal's deep mines, Betws's output can be sold in a variety of markets and does not depend for its survival on sales to the power generation industry.

The Government is poised to announce which companies have succeeded in bidding for the remainder of British Coal, which is being sold in up to five regional packages of deep and opencast mines.

Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, could reveal the buyers as early as today in his speech to the Conservative Party conference. Until now the announcement was not expected until the end of the month.

It is understood that ministers have decided not to sell the company as a single entity, which some British Coal managers had favoured. Last- minute meetings were held yesterday with the bidders at Rothschilds, the merchant bank that is advising ministers on the sale.