Leeds & West Yorkshire

Kellingley and Hatfield machinery for New Crofton colliery

The machine leaves Kellingley
Image caption A Joy CM15 Continuous Miner machine was the latest piece of equipment to be saved.

Machinery from the last deep coal mine in the UK has been saved to be used in a new, smaller drift mine nearby.

The New Crofton Co-operative Colliery is to open near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in June.

A coal-cutting machine from the defunct Kellingley colliery is now in storage for use on the new site.

Jonathan Clarke, the co-operative's director, said the "perfectly serviceable machine would get a new lease of life" and not be scrapped.

A Joy CM15 Continuous Miner machine was the latest piece of equipment to be saved.

"Kellingley and Hatfield collieries have both contributed to the birth of a new coal mine, even though they've died themselves something good has come of it," Mr Clarke said.

Equipment worth £750,000 had now been bought from the two closed collieries, he said.

Image caption Jonathan Clarke said about 60 people are to be employed at the new drift mine

Kellingley, known locally as the Big K, was the largest deep pit in Europe and could bring up to 900 tonnes an hour to the surface.

At its height it employed more than 2,000 workers and when it closed in December 450 people lost their jobs.

Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, closed in June with the loss of 430 jobs.

About 60 people are to be employed at the new drift mine to extract about 200,000 tonnes of coal annually.

About 90% of that production would go to power stations, said Mr Clarke.

The £13m project was a "much cheaper way" to start coal production, he added.

It would be a shallow drift mine about 650 ft (200m) deep without large winding apparatus on the surface.

Work at the new mine, which will be owned and run by its members, starts in June, with the first coal mined about 10 weeks later.

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

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