A £20m deal to secure a managed closure of doomed Kellingley Colliery is expected to be finalised ‘soon’, according to operators UK Coal.
The deal would prevent an immediate closure of the pit and instead would see it close gradually between now and the end of next year.
Last month, the National Union of Mineworkers shelved an employee buyout plan of Kellingley amid claims that UK Coal had made the plan unviable.
A spokeswoman for UK Coal said: “We are hopeful that the managed closure deal will be done soon.
“We believe the agreement is very close and hope to get it finalised in the near future.”
UK Coal first announced plans to close the site, with the loss of 700 jobs, blaming the low cost of importing coal and fuel prices.
It said it would work to secure a £20m ‘managed closure’ deal to prevent an immediate closure of the site.
But the deal was thrown into doubt when one of the main contributors Hargreaves Services Plc withdrew its support.
Hargreaves, which was expected to contribute £5m towards the deal, announced in June it was no longer willing to help.
The deal, which also includes a £10m state loan and a further £5m from other private investors, would see gradual job losses between now and 2015.
Then in July, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) tried to secure a long-term future for the site when it announced plans for an employee buyout.
It would have seen workers invest £2,000 each to secure a future until at least 2020.
But the union claimed UK Coal made the buy-out “unviable” by adding additional costs for the closure of Thorseby Colliery, in Nottinghamshire.
UK Coal branded the union’s plan “woeful” and said it didn’t listen to advice.