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Richard John Budge (19 April 1947 – 18 July 2016) was a coal mining entrepreneur and chairman of The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisations.
He entered the coal mining industry when he joined the company of Retford-based (on West Carr Road) A.F. Budge, owned by his brother Tony (1939-2010), which ran opencast mines. It was also involved in civil engineering schemes such as building the new £3.2m A638 Redhouse interchange on the A1(M) north of Doncaster in 1979; junctions 4-6 of the A1(M) in 1973; and junctions 1-3 of the M621 in 1975; the M181 and a section of the M180 near Scunthorpe in 1978. The company also sponsored the December Gold Cup horse race at Cheltenham Racecourse from 1988 to 1991.
In February 1992, Richard Budge bought the opencast coal and Plant division from the family business with venture capital backing from Schroder Ventures for circa £103m, a transaction approved by Charterhouse Ventures and Prudential Ventures which were preference shareholders of AF Budge. A.F. Budge, was majority owned by his elder brother Tony Budge.
When the UK coal industry was privatised in 1994, Budge bought most of the pits for £815m, forming RJB Mining, which he had started in 1992 after buying his brother's opencast business division for £102.5m. This led to Budge being christened King Coal. He bought three out of five packages of the UK coal industry (17 deep mine pits) on 30 December 1994 for around £700m. At the time there were 19 deep mines left in the UK. The last of these remaining deep mine pits, Kellingley Colliery, would close on 18 December 2015.
When the Labour government came to power, Budge informed the government that ten pits would have to close unless he secured long-term contracts from the electricity generators National Power and Powergen (now called E.ON UK). In 2000, he attempted to sell off its pits to the American Renco Group.
He formed the company, Coalpower, in 2001. It bought the Hatfield Colliery, at Stainforth, in April 2004 from Hatfield Coal Company, helped by £7m of state aid. In late 2003, Coalpower went into administration.
His company, Powerfuel, was 48% owned by Budge and 52% owned by KRU, Russia's second biggest coal company. In April 2007, he re-opened the pit at Stainforth, at a cost of £100m, financed by £50m from VTB Bank. It is part of the Barnsley Seam with around 27m tonnes of coal reserves. A £1.2bn 900MW clean-coal IGCC power station, known as the Hatfield IGCC Project, is to be built next to the colliery. ING took control of all the assets in December 2010.
He was married to Rosalind and lived at Wiseton in north Nottinghamshire near Gringley-on-the-Hill, close to the A631. He was a member of the Worshipful Company of Fuellers. They had two sons (born 1969 and 1971). He married Rosalind White in 1968 in Boston. Since the late 1960s he had lived in north Nottinghamshire.
He died in Retford.
- "‘King Coal’ mining mogul Richard Budge dies aged 69", Brighouse Echo, UK, Jul 18, 2016.
- Retford Times
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- "Money", The Telegraph, UK, Mar 1, 2001.
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- "Russians join 1bn deal", The Yorkshire Post.
- Power fuel.
- Photo, UK: Geograph.
- Fuellers, UK.