RJB may have to close two mines

RJB Mining, the coal company seeking more than £70 million in Government aid said that it may have to close two collieries after reporting heavy losses.

The group, which controls about 60% of British coal mining, made a loss after tax of £130 million in the year to December 31, compared with a £40.1 million profit in 1998.

The company are now threatening to close Ellington colliery in Northumberland and Clipsone colliery in Notinghamshire with the total loss of 520 jobs.

RJB said last year's losses included one-off charges of £141 million. Of that, £15.8 million came from redundancy and pit closure costs, with the rest from a revaluation of its colliery assets.

Chairman John Robinson had held back publication of the figures in the hope of securing the state aid.

He said: "We are disappointed that this decision has not been made by now."

The company has offered a guarantee to keep open all of its 13 deep mines, including Ellington colliery, the last pit in north east England, if its demands for state aid are met in full.

Otherwise, the group will carry out its threat made last year to close the pit.

The Clipstone colliery in Nottinghamshire would also be saved if the Government aid came through, RJB said.

Sales by the troubled mining company for 1999 were down at £699.2 million against £822.5 million the year before.

Stripping out the exceptional costs, RJB made a pre-tax profit of £11 million last year compared with £50 million in 1998.

The company has come under pressure from cheap foreign coal suppliers and the increasing use of gas-fired power stations.

Total use of coal in generators fell by 17% in Britain last year alone.

Chief executive Richard Budge warned against Britain becoming solely dependent on gas and nuclear power and added that RJB had made a "robust" case for aid to the Department of Trade and Industry.

"It would be ridiculous to be losing UK jobs when European governments are subsidising theirs," he said.

He claimed his mines ran at a third of the cost of German collieries and a fifth of those in Italy, both of which received substantial government subsidies.

While disappointed at not having received a decision from the DTI, he said: "These are very difficult choices for the Government to make.

"They need to be well thought out, but we are confident they are seriously looking at our proposals."

Coal prices, which hit record lows last year, were starting to increase.

Shareholders will pick up a total dividend of 7.5p-a-share compared with 7p last year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss