Opencast mining firm ATH Resources goes into administration

ATH Resources' Glenmuckloch facility (picture courtesy of Kath Jones) ATH had received council backing to expand its Glenmuckloch mine, but in May it announced that it was deferring the plans

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One of Scotland's main opencast coal mining companies has gone into administration.

ATH Resources, which is the holding company for operators in Ayrshire, Fife and Dumfries and Galloway, was forced out of business on Wednesday.

Its main lender had responded to the company's financial difficulties by demanding immediate repayment of its debt.

Scotland's coal industry has been under pressure by cheaper imported coal.

The subsidiaries of ATH Resources employ around 300 people.

In May, ATH Resources deferred plans to expand an opencast coalmine in the south of Scotland.

The expansion plans at its Glenmuckloch facility had received the backing of Dumfries and Galloway Council, which ATH Resources said would safeguard 90 jobs.

'Dropped expansion'

But the firm blamed the decision to defer on the falling international price of coal.

It said its board would review the case to take forward or drop the expansion plans entirely by the end of this year.

A statement on the company's website said: "The Directors of ATH Resources plc one of the UK's largest coal producers, announce that its lender, BECAP Capital Coal Limited has today demanded repayment of the Group's facilities, in full, with immediate effect.

"The company cannot satisfy the full repayment of the facility and consequently, the lender has today appointed administrators to ATH Resources plc under powers contained in the security held by it."

It said William Wright, Brian Green and Allan Graham of KPMG had been appointed administrators.

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