Fire the final nail in Daw Mill’s coffin

AS widely anticipated the Daw Mill Colliery in Warwickshire is to close.

Around 650 people work at the mine. Some may be transferred to other pits – although there are no others in the West Midlands – but the bulk of the workforce will be made redundant.

More than 100 miners were evacuated from the mine after a fire broke out 1,770 ft below the surface on February 22.

Days later Kevin McCullough, chief executive of UK Coal, said it would take anything from three to six months to resume mining at Daw Mill and the reality of it ever opening again was very slim.

Today, in a statement to the Stock Exchange, that prediction became reality.

McCullough said: “This has been a terrible week, not just for the company and its employees but also for the energy security of the country, as it brings an end to 47 years of coal production at Daw Mill.

“Having successfully completed the restructuring, and being only weeks away from returning to healthy production, this ferocious fire has dealt a blow to everything we tried to achieve over the last 12 months – in just ten days.

“The deep mines at Kellingley and Thoresby, together with the surface mines, continue to produce coal for use in the UK’s power stations.

“We are now exploring the possible transfer of some colleagues to our other mines.  Regrettably however, this news is likely to see the majority of the Daw Mill workforce being made redundant and our thoughts and best wishes are with these colleagues and their families at this difficult time.”

Yorkshire-based UK Coal had been considering the future viability of Daw Mill well before the fire happened.

The fire is the largest seen in a UK coal mine in over 30 years and continues to burn ferociously at a depth of 740m with no signs of it reducing despite the ventilation being turned off to starve the fire of oxygen.

The 650 workforce has already been put at risk of redundancy, although a small, core team will remain on site to safely secure the mine over the coming months.

UK Coal is understood to be looking at the possibility of opening another mine near Stoke-on-Trent. The firm believes there is enough coal at the location to make an extraction operation viable for around two years.