UK Coal

UK Coal Production Ltd, formerly UK Coal plc, was the largest coal mining business in the United Kingdom. The company was based in Harworth, in Nottinghamshire. The company was a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. The successor company that contains the former property division, Harworth Group is still listed on the London Stock Exchange.

UK Coal Production Ltd
IndustryCoal mining, Renewable energy, & Real estate
Defunct18 December 2015
HeadquartersHarworth, Nottinghamshire, England
Key people
Kevin McCullough (Chief Executive)
Revenue£316.0 million (2009)
£82.7 million (2007)
£94.0 million (2007)
Number of employees
2,000 (2013)[1]
Daw Mill Colliery 17s06
Daw Mill Colliery, Warwickshire, England


The predecessor company of UK Coal was founded by Richard J. Budge in 1974 as RJB Mining. In 1994, following the privatisation of the UK mining industry, it grew fivefold with the acquisition of British Coal's core activities.[2] It changed its name to UK Coal in 2001 after the retirement of its founder, having acquired UK Coal plc.

Former operations

At year end 2008, the company estimated coal reserves and resources of 105 Mt at the mines, of which 45 Mt was accessible under existing five year mining and investment plans. [3] Its most important customers were electricity generators.[4]

In 2010 the Company proposed a series of developments, mainly opencast mining, including the Minorca mine project development in Measham, Leicestershire.[5] However, UK Coal exited surface mining in late 2014,[6] so these plans did not materialise.

In 2012, UK Coal were fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety laws after a death of a miner at Kellingley Colliery.[7] One deep mine, the Welbeck colliery, in Nottinghamshire closed in 2011 after continuous production since 1912.[8] Another deep mine, Daw Mill at Keresley, Coventry, closed in 2013 after an underground fire damaged much of the facilities.

On 10 April 2014, Reuters reported that the British government was to give UK Coal a £10 million loan to help fund the closure of its two remaining deep mines. The company will carry out a managed closure of the deep mines by Autumn 2015 and will seek a buyer for its surface mines. UK Coal's difficulties have been precipitated by a flood of U.S. coal on to the market, as a result of shale gas development, and by the strength of sterling.[9]

Thoresby Colliery was shut in July 2015, while Kellingley Colliery ceased production on 18 December 2015.[10] with ownership to be transferred to Harworth Estates for future redevelopment.[11]

Former opencast mining operations

Three surface mines in North East England were owned by UK Coal Surface Mines Limited (company number 08492512) which went into administration on 14 November 2014. The business was then sold to UKCSMR Limited (company number 09275881). The three surface mines are Butterwell and Potland Burn in Northumberland and Park Wall North in County Durham.[6][12]

Former renewable energy and gas operations

The company moved into renewable energy, expanding into windfarms, which is helped by a large landbank and the desire to diversify into energy activities beyond coal. Wind power offers financial incentives such as Renewables Obligation Certificates. UK Coal, through its Harworth Power subsidiary, engaged in mine gas recovery, to generate electricity.[13]

Harworth Power was sold on 1 October 2012 to Red Rose Infrastructure Limited for £20.30 million.[14] At the time of the sale, it operated 14 gas engines of 26 MW generation capacity supplying electricity to UK Coal and the National Grid.[14]


On 12 December 2012 UK Coal plc completed [15] a complex financial restructuring of the company to secure its future and changed its name to Coalfield Resources plc.[16][17] The company's operations had been restructured into two separate businesses: the mining division (under UK Coal Mine Holdings Limited) and the property division (under Harworth Estates Property Group Limited).

Control of the mining division had passed to an employee benefit trust ("EBT"), which initially held shares representing 67& of the voting and 10% of the economic rights in UK Coal Mine Holdings for the benefit of current and future employees of the mining division. Coalfield Resources initially retained the remainder of UK Coal Mine Holdings's economic and voting rights, but the shareholdings rank behind pension fund debt.[15] On 9 July 2013, following a devastating fire, their largest mine, Daw Mill, was forced into closure. As a direct, result both UK Coal Mine Holdings Ltd (UKCMHL) and UK Coal Operations Ltd (UKCOL) were put into administration.[18] The remaining mining operations were again restructured, resulting in the formation of a new business "UK Coal Production Ltd".[19]

The successor of Coalfield Resources, Harworth Group had no equity interest in the mining business by the time the last two mines were closed in 2015.[20] Harworth Group initially (in 2012) owned 24.9% of Harworth Estates Property Group, with 75.1% having passed to EBT in return for a £30 million cash injection and their financial support to the mines. However, in November 2014 Coalfield Resources announced that it had agreed terms with the Pension Protection Fund to buy back the 75.1% of Harworth Estates Property Group it did not already own and to change the name of the company to Harworth Group plc. This transaction was completed on 24 March 2015.[20]


The company is no longer active in mining. On 18 December 2015 the company closed its last deep mine located in Central England, at Kellingley.[10] Surface mines have been sold to UKCSMR Limited in late 2014.[6] Coal extraction has declined from 37.1 megatonnes in 1995 to around 7 Mt in 2009.[21]

Only the former property division operates as the successor company Harworth Estates (wholly owned by the Harworth Group).

At the end of 2007 Harworth Estates land was estimated to be worth £411 million.[21] The estate assets are primarily in business parks, industrial sites and agriculture, with a smaller portfolio of residential property (residential assets associated with agricultural properties). Harworth Estates manage, develop and regenerate their extensive portfolio of land totalling over 30,000 acres (12,000 ha).[22]

Harworth Estates are now wholly owned by the Harworth Group, which had divested its equity interest in the mining operations before the restructuring of March 2015.

See also


  1. ^ At a glance, UK Coal.
  2. ^ UK Coal: History Archived 12 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "UK Coal Annual report 2008, page 24" (PDF). Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  4. ^ "UK Coal Annual report 2008, page 19" (PDF). Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Minorca Opencast Protest Group". Minorca Opencast Protest Group. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Ford, Coreena (20 November 2014). "Pre-pack deal saves nearly 300 jobs at UK Coal Surface Mines Ltd". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  7. ^ "UK Coal fined over miner Ian Cameron's death". BBC News. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Welbeck Colliery". UK coal. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Britain to give UK Coal 10 mln stg loan to fund mine closures | Reuters". 10 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ "Kellingley mining machines buried in last deep pit". BBC website. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Failure Page". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  13. ^ UK Coal: the Company Archived 14 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ a b Archived 25 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b "UK Coal PLC – Completion of Restructuring". Hemscottir. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Completion of Restructuring". Latest news. Coal field resources. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  17. ^ "UK Coal plc – Confirmation of name change to Coalfield Resources". Hemscottir. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Restructuring preserves 2,000 jobs". UK Coal. July 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  19. ^ "At a glance". UK Coal. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  20. ^ a b "At a glance". Harworth Group. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  21. ^ a b UK Coal: Company information Archived 21 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Harworth Estates". Retrieved 10 April 2014.

External links

British Energy Efficiency Federation

The British Energy Efficiency Federation (or BEEF) was founded in 1996 by the United Kingdom Government to provide a forum for consultation between existing industry associations in the energy sector.

Coal Authority

The Coal Authority is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom government.

Coal mining in the United Kingdom

Coal mining in the United Kingdom dates back to Roman times and occurred in many different parts of the country. Britain's coalfields are associated with Northumberland and Durham, North and South Wales, Yorkshire, the Scottish Central Belt, Lancashire, Cumbria, the East and West Midlands and Kent. After 1970, coal mining quickly collapsed and practically disappeared in the 21st century. The consumption of coal – mostly for electricity – fell from 157 million tonnes in 1970 to 18 million tonnes in 2016. Of the coal mined, 77% of supplies were imported from Colombia, Russia and the United States. Of the coal mined in the UK in 2016 all was from open-cast coal mines. Employment in coal mines fell from a peak of 1,191,000 in 1920 to 695,000 in 1956, 247,000 in 1976, 44,000 in 1993, and to 2,000 in 2015.Almost all onshore coal resources in the UK occur in rocks of the Carboniferous age, some of which extend under the North Sea. Bituminous coal is present in most of Britain's coalfields and is 86% to 88% carbon. In Northern Ireland, there are extensive deposits of lignite which is less energy-dense based on oxidation (combustion) at ordinary combustion temperatures (i.e. for the oxidation of carbon - see fossil fuels).The last deep coal mine in the UK closed on 18 December 2015. Twenty-six open cast mines still remain open and Banks Mining said in 2018 they planned to start mining a new site in County Durham.

Confederation of UK Coal Producers

The Confederation of UK Coal Producers (or CoalPro) is the UK trade association for coal mining companies. Full members include Banks Developments, Celtic Energy, Kier Mining, Miller Argent, Hall Construction, Hargreaves Services, and Land Engineering Services.

Daw Mill

Daw Mill was a coal mine located near the village of Arley, near Nuneaton, in the English county of Warwickshire. The mine was Britain's biggest coal producer. It closed in 2013 following a major fire. It was the last remaining colliery in the West Midlands.

Energy Retail Association

The Energy Retail Association (ERA) was a trade association which promoted the interests of electricity and gas retailers in the domestic market in Great Britain, formed in 2003. In April 2012 it merged with the Association of Electricity Producers and the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy to become Energy UK.


Grimethorpe is a large village in the metropolitan borough of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. Historically within the West Riding of Yorkshire, it has a population of 1,873. Grimethorpe is located to the east of Barnsley and south of Hemsworth; until the local government reorganisation of 1974, it was part of the Hemsworth district and constituency. At the 2011 Census the village was part of the North East ward of Barnsley MBC.

For much of the 20th century Grimethorpe's economy was rooted in coal mining. Since the 1984-85 Miners strike accelerated the downscale of UK coal mining and international cheap open-cast mining provoked closure of its colliery in May 1993.

John Wood Group

John Wood Group PLC is a multinational energy services company with headquarters in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Kellingley Colliery

Kellingley Colliery was a deep coal mine in North Yorkshire, England, 3.6 miles (5.8 km) east of Ferrybridge power station. It was owned and operated by UK Coal.

The colliery closed on 18 December 2015, marking the end of deep-pit coal mining in Britain.

Meden Vale

Meden Vale is a small former coal mining village originally known as Welbeck Colliery Village prior to renaming in the late 1960s.It is situated close to the small town of Market Warsop, in north Nottinghamshire, England, off the main A60 Mansfield to Worksop road, and lies within Mansfield District Council administrative area and Mansfield Parliamentary constituency, represented since 2017 by Ben Bradley of the Conservative Party. It is in the civil parish of Warsop.

The economy was based mainly on Welbeck Colliery, which started up when two shafts were sunk between 1912 and 1915, and was determined for closure by owner UK Coal in 2007 due to limited reserves, with the last coal produced 11 May 2010. Most of the working-age employees from the 410 total transferred to other collieries operated by UK Coal, including Daw Mill near Coventry, a daily round-trip of 140 mi (230 km) for some. When closed it was one of the last remaining deep mine collieries to operate in England, and at its peak employed 1,400 men and produced 1.5 million tonnes of coal yearly.There is a small collection of shops, Post Office, a garage and the Three Lions public house. The River Meden flows through the village alongside the main road. The village has a rugby union side which plays in the RFU Midlands 5 East (North) division.

Mining in the United Kingdom

Mining in the United Kingdom produces a wide variety of fossil fuels, metals, and industrial minerals due to its complex geology. In 2013, there were over 2,000 active mines, quarries, and offshore drilling sites on the continental land mass of the United Kingdom producing £34bn of minerals and employing 36,000 people.

New Electricity Trading Arrangements

New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) is the system of market trading arrangements under which electricity is traded in the United Kingdom's wholesale electricity market as of 27 March 2001. The arrangements provided that parties could trade off their imbalances close to real time.

Normanton le Heath

Normanton le Heath is a village and civil parish situated between the parishes of Packington, Ravenstone and Heather in North West Leicestershire, England. The population of the civil parish was 131 at the 2001 census, rising to 165 at the 2011 census. It should not be confused with another Normanton in the county which is near Bottesford.

The name, which in Old English means the settlement of Northmen on the heath, suggests that the current village was probably an English village taken over by a group of Norse or Danish settlers at the time of the original Viking settlement, and this fits well into the overall pattern of land occupation in the area. It lies on the edge of the great heath that once stretched Westwards from the edge of Charnwood Forest, something which is reflected in the names of a number of other settlements in the area, such as Heather and Donington le Heath.

There are, however, signs of significant earlier land usage in the parish. Near to the boundary with Heather and Ravenstone an Iron Age settlement has been discovered. Equally, the newly discovered Roman road from Leicester to Chester has been discovered running through the centre of Normanton. Just over the parish boundary in the southern Ravenstone area there was a small Roman town.

A track called the Swepstone Way can be traced running from the Iron Age settlement all the way to Tamworth. The Salt Way which ran through Measham can also be traced to Normanton. It is not totally implausible to suggest that a road/track ran through the centre from Ancaster to Wall. If this is correct it would suggest that this track was of Roman origin. However, this is very much a speculative road at the moment.

The settlement is not mentioned in the Domesday Book and the first mention we have is in 1209. Much of the land in the early Middle Ages to the north was known to be woodland or heathland. Coal mining formed part of the economy of the area from a very early period and mines have been found at the abandoned village of Alton to the north of Normanton.

The parish had a population of 131 according to the 2001 census.To the east of the village was the Long Moor open cast coal mine managed by UK Coal. Over a three-year period from 2007 to 2010 this extracted 725,000 tons of coal. Following restoration, the 188 acres (76 ha) mine site has been acquired by the Woodland Trust. With adjoining agricultural land this will become the Flagship Diamond Wood, a 186 hectares (460 acres) new woodland to celebrate the 2012 Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Open-pit coal mining in the United Kingdom

Open-pit coal mining in the United Kingdom is in decline. Output has fallen every year since 2010. In 2010, the United Kingdom was forecast to produce about ten million tonnes (9,800,000 long tons; 11,000,000 short tons) of coal a year from open-pit mines. Most came from Scotland, with the largest operator there being the Scottish Coal subsidiary of Scottish Resources Group. Actual production in 2010 was over 13 million tonnes but this has declined to less than 8 million tonnes in 2014.

Statistics on open-pit coal mining are compiled by the British Geological Survey from information provided by local planning authorities. Open-pit coal mines usually last four or five years at extraction rates of up to a quarter-million tons a year.

Regal Petroleum

Regal Petroleum plc is a petroleum company based in London with assets in Romania, Ukraine, Greece, and Egypt. It was founded by Frank Timiş in November 1996, and is listed on the London Alternative Investment Market.


The sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) is one of two members of the fish family Anoplopomatidae and the only species in the genus Anoplopoma. In English, common names for it include sable (USA), butterfish (USA), black cod (USA, UK, Canada), blue cod (UK), bluefish (UK), candlefish (UK), coal cod (UK), coalfish (Canada), beshow, and skil(fish) (Canada), although many of these names also refer to other, unrelated, species. In the US, the FDA accepts only "sablefish" as the Acceptable Market Name; "black cod" is considered a vernacular (regional) name and should not be used as a Statement of Identity for this species. The sablefish is found in muddy sea beds in the North Pacific at depths of 300 to 2,700 m (980 to 8,860 ft) and is commercially important to Japan.

Selby Coalfield

Selby coalfield (also known as the Selby complex, or Selby 'superpit') was a large-scale deep underground mine complex based around Selby, North Yorkshire, England, with pitheads at Wistow Mine, Stillingfleet Mine, Riccall Mine, North Selby Mine, Whitemoor Mine and at Gascoigne Wood Mine; all coal was brought to the surface and treated at Gascoigne Wood, being distributed onwards by rail. The primary purpose of the pit was to supply coal for electrical power generation; much of it was used in the nearby Aire valley power stations.

Mining peaked in 1993–4 at 12 million tonnes a year. The mines were acquired by RJB Mining in 1997 after the privatisation of the coal industry; loss of subsidy, geological problems, and low UK coal prices made the pits unprofitable by the 21st century. Closure was announced in 2002, and mining completely ceased by 2004.


Welbeck is a village in Nottinghamshire, England, slightly to the south-west of Worksop. The village population is included in the civil parish of Holbeck.

Welbeck became a coal-mining centre in 1912 and has a famous stately home, Welbeck Abbey, home of the Dukes of Portland, and which was founded in the twelfth century as a monastery.Among the famous people from Welbeck is former cricketer, Ted Alletson, who held a batting world record for 50 years.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand accepted an invitation from the Duke of Portland to stay at Welbeck Abbey and arrived with his wife, Sophie, by train at Worksop on 22 November 1913. This was almost a year before his assassination, which triggered off the First World War. The Archduke narrowly avoided being killed in a freak hunting accident during his stay.

Western Power Distribution

Western Power Distribution is the trading identity of four electricity distribution companies - WPD South West (operating in South West England), WPD South Wales (operating in South Wales) and WPD Midlands (operating in East Midlands and West Midlands). All of the companies act as the distribution network operator for their respective regions, and are registered in Bristol, England. Western Power Distribution serves approximately 7.7 million customers over its combined distribution areas.

Western Power Distribution is a subsidiary of the American utility corporation PPL.

It should not be confused with WPD, a wind farm company in north-western Europe, or Western Power Corporation, an electricity distributor in Australia.


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