Machinery from Big K to be used at new village colliery

A coal-cutting machine has been bought from Kellingley Colliery.

A coal-cutting machine has been bought from Kellingley Colliery.

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Machinery from the last deep coal mine in the country will be used at a new colliery.

The New Crofton Co-Op Colliery is expected to open in Crofton in June and could mine around 200,000 tonnes of coal a year.

A coal-cutting machine used at Kellingley Colliery, which closed last year, is the latest piece of equipment to have been saved and it will be used on the new site.

Jonathan Clarke, the co-operative’s director, said: “We are really pleased to have bought the Joy CM15 continuous miner machine from Kellingley. The machines cost around £2m new and it was part of the local industry.”

Other pieces of machinery have also been bought from Kellingley and Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster, which closed in June last year with the loss of 430 jobs.

Mr Clarke said: “It is unusual to buy from former collieries but otherwise the machines would have been scrapped for peanuts.”

The Crofton colliery will be a drift mine, which will use sloping tunnels to extract coal from shallow seams.

The drift mining technique has lower costs than traditional deep mines, which have vertical shafts sunk hundreds of metres below the ground.

It is expected to extract 4.9m tonnes of coal over the next 20 years from a seam worth around £200m.

The mine is being set up as a workers’ co-operative, which will see profits re-invested into social enterprises.

And it is expected to create up to 60 new jobs and around 90 per cent of the production would go to power stations.

Work at the site is expected to start in June, with the first coal being mined around 10 weeks later.

The site at Crofton was originally earmarked for open cast mining by British Coal in the 1980s.

Kellingley and Hatfield collieries closed last year, bringing an end to centuries of deep coal mining.

Kellingley, known locally as the Big K, began production in 1965 and became the largest deep pit in Europe.

It was hailed as the new generation of coal mining and could bring up to 900 tonnes an hour to the surface. And at its height, Kellingley employed more than 2,000 workers.

Around 450 works carried out their final shifts at the site in December last year.

Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster, closed in June last year with the loss of 430 jobs after almost a century of production.

The last lump of coal mined was presented to the Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones to mark the end of mining in the region.

In 1980, there was 50,000 miners in South Yorkshire.