Britain's biggest coal mine faces closure

  • @BawdenTom

Britain's biggest coal mine faces closure, jeopardising 800 jobs, if its owner, UK Coal, cannot reach a new agreement with unions on pay and working practices.

UK Coal has begun consultations on a proposal to close Daw Mill in Arley, near Coventry, in early 2014 when current coal panels will be exhausted.

Daw Mill started life as a ventilation shaft for Dexter Colliery, which closed in 1987. When a rich seam of coal was discovered, a full 558-metre deep shaft was sunk in 1957, followed by a second shaft 10 years later.

The last remaining mine in the Warwickshire coalfields, which once had 20 deep mines, the pit has been dogged by productivity problems in recent years, including a four-month gap in production two years ago which cost the company £75m.

UK Coal is mulling the closure just three months after it agreed a deal with unions which included a two-year pay freeze and a new shift system. However, the mine is still in trouble and, without an increase in production and another drop in operating costs in the coming months, UK Coal said it was unsustainable.