This year has seen the UK coal mining industry take a terrible hit. Back in February, at least a 550 strong workforce hit the unemployment lines, as the Warwickshire based Daw Mill Colliery was destroyed, following the breakout of an underground fire.
Financial damage was so extreme it rendered the site unsustainable, forcing at least a 550 strong workforce into unemployment. Financially, the damages are estimated to be around £100m in equipment, with a further £160m in damages to the coal on the site.
To come back into operation would be a cost of £260 million, which wasn’t an option UK coal, had at their disposal. Further devastation rolled out in April, as Scottish Coal announced they were to go into liquidation, as the operational costs were increasing substantially, while the market was on the decline. The decision was taken by administrators, to close all six mining sites, throughout Scotland, resulting in job losses around 600.
Work is now underway to help those deployed from Scottish Coal sites, back into work, as a taskforce is formed to address the issues of Scottish Coal, which was the last mining company to operate in Scotland.
Mining sites take a ton of land resources, and the clean up alone could cost the country millions. The clean up process will be required for environmental purposes, but it’s who will pick up that bill, that’s just one of the many concerns.
Another concern is that the liquidators may decide to split assets in order to generate extract any revenue possible from the defunct coalmines. This is what MPs are referring to as “asset-stripping.” It’s the process where a buyer will come in and cherry-pick some profitable assets, such as the equipment still onsite.
Take that away and the land is worthless. The taskforce brings together a group of parliamentarians, communities, unions, councillors, environmental agencies, and coal operators, together to bring solutions to the table, with the job of sustaining the industry, that’s currently facing collapse. The aims of the taskforce as set out in a letter to liquidators of Scottish Coal, urging them to seek one buyer, for Scottish Coal as a whole.
It would be preferred for an established company, with good capitalisation, which will show that they’re able to protect the jobs that’s been lost, as well as meet their environmental responsibilities to local communities, in line with governmental policy.
Ahead of this weeks first meeting, the Scottish Opencast Mining Taskforce will reconvene on the 15th of May 2013, joined with the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust. The SMRT taskforce aims to see the sites restored, which needs a work force to do that.
With an additional six mining coal sites, joining the existing mining sites, now non-operational, there’s environmental issues need addressed, and a work force established. The news that’s coming forth from both task forces are that there are jobs going to be upcoming on the sites. It’s whether those jobs will be in coal manufacturing or in restoring the sites landscape, to protect the environment.
While there’s been hundreds of jobs lost in coal mining, there’s sure to be more job creations to follow.