The future of most of Britain's remaining coalmines has been safeguarded by a £60m grant announced by the Government yesterday.
The money, provided by the Department of Trade and Industry, will help secure thousands of jobs.
But the grant may not stop the closure of the Selby complex in Yorkshire, the biggest coal site in Europe, which is set to end production next year with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers will meet Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, today in a final bid to save the site.
Details of the new grant are expected to be confirmed in a White Paper on energy due to be published by the Government within weeks.
The Coal Authority, responsible for licensing mines, is expected to add another £50m on top of the £60m, and there could be extra investment from pit owners.
The money will preserve jobs at pits including Maltby and Harworth, Yorkshire, Ellington in the North East, and Tower in South Wales.
Department of Trade and Industry sources said they believed that, without the aid, further pit closures would be announced within the next few years. The money will be invested to boost productivity and keep pits competitive.
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