MORE than 500 jobs are to be axed following an announcement just days before Christmas that a historic 100-year-old pit is to close.
Owners Hargreaves Services have rejected plans to save Maltby Colliery on grounds of health and safety, geological and financial risks.
A total of 540 jobs will go by the end of March.
Work will not entirely cease at the pit, which hit problems in May when water, oil and gas leaked into excavations designed to open up new reserves.
Hargreaves says it expects to extract around a million tonnes of coal from colliery spoil on the surface and it is exploring the possibility of generating electricity by burning methane, which will continue to be extracted from the pit. Staff at the colliery will also continue to provide mining management services to Hatfield Colliery.
Coal will continue to be mined until the mine’s existing face is exhausted but, although Maltby is officially being mothballed, rather than closed, equipment will be removed and Hargreaves expects to gain £14 million from its sale.
Hargreaves said in a statement: “The decision to recommend mothballing the mine at Maltby has been a difficult one but the board is confident it is the right decision given the health and safety, geological and financial risks.
“The board also believes that in the longer term the decision will reduce the volatility of the group’s earnings.”
Hargreaves says redundancy costs would amount to £7.3m, if everyone at the pit were to lose their jobs.
That includes £3.7m in enhanced redundancy payments, which the company says it will make, although it is not obliged to.