AROUND 540 jobs are at risk after Hargreaves Services announced plans to mothball Maltby Colliery.
The board announced its decision after investigations concluded that a new coal face, called T125, was not viable on ‘health and safety, geological, and financial grounds’.
A statement released on Tuesday said: “Consequently the board is proposing that T125 will not be mined and that the mine will be mothballed.”
“Regrettably, the board’s proposal inevitably means that all employees working at Maltby Colliery continue to be at risk of redundancy.”
“In the event that redundancies are necessary, the company remains committed to exploring alternative employment opportunities for staff.”
The board is continuing to consult with employees and union representatives to see if any alternatives to mothballing can be found.
Final proposals to be considered by the board must be tabled by the end of November.
Gordon Banham, group chief executive at Hargreaves Services said: “We are most disappointed that we face proposing the mothballing of the mine and we are very aware of the impact of this on our highly committed and loyal workforce.”
“We were committed to working the mine for some time to come, but in the light of the overwhelming evidence that has been presented to us, we are just not prepared to place at risk the very people who have done so much to make this mine a success.”
Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron worked at Maltby Colliery for 18 years before being elected to Parliament.
He said the mothballing, if it did go ahead, would have a negative psychological effect on the town.
“I am not happy about the situation, but from the information being put out and having had discussions with representatives, the final decision wont come until the end of the month. So until then I am remaining optimistic,” he said.
“The majority of the workforce don’t live in Maltby, but if you look back on the history of the town, it was shaped around the colliery.”
“In 1992 the government wanted to mothball the colliery and we campaigned against that, and it stayed open for those 20 year. I remain optimistic that will happen again.”
Maltby Town Councillor Keith Stringer said he was sorry to hear the news, but hoped the problems underground could be overcome.
“I would now like to see the management and the unions coming together around the table and working together to do the very best for all concerned.”
“Although there are only a small number of local men among the workforce, the future for all doesn’t look very certain at the moment and especially at this time of year.”
“If Maltby Colliery has to close then that will see the end of deep seam mining in South Yorkshire. I do know that this pit has an abundance of archives which means it’s history will never be forgotten.”