UK Coal

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UK Coal Production Ltd
Industry Coal mining, Renewable energy, & Real estate
Founded 1974
Headquarters Harworth, 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, Warwickshire, England

UK Coal Production Ltd, formerly UK Coal plc, is the largest coal mining business in the United Kingdom. The company is based in Harworth, in Nottinghamshire. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a former constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. On Monday 12 December 2012 UK Coal plc completed [2] a complex financial restructuring of the company to secure its future and changed its name to Coalfield Resources plc.[3][4] The Company's operations had been restructured into two separate businesses: the Mining Division (under UK Coal Mine Holdings Limited ("Mine Holdings")) and the Property Division (under Harworth Estates Property Group Limited ("Harworth Estates")). Control of the Mining Division had passed to an Employee Benefit Trust ("EBT") which holds shares representing 67 per cent of the voting, and 10 per cent of the economic rights in Mine Holdings for the benefit of current and future employees of the Mining Division. The Company retained the remainder of Mine Holdings's economic and voting rights, but the shareholdings rank behind pension fund debt.[2] 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[5] and the remaining operations were again restructured, resulting in the formation of a new business "UK Coal Production Ltd".[6]

The company owns 24.9 per cent of Harworth Estates, with 75.1 per cent having passed to EBT in return for a £30 million cash injection and their financial support to the mines.

As a result of the restructure, Coalfield Resources (CFR) retained only a minority interest in UK Coal Mine Holdings Limited. CFR ceased to be responsible for running the mines, limiting its involvement to a governance role alongside the Employee Benefit Trust which controlled the mining operation.


The predecessor company 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.[7] It changed its name to UK Coal in 2001 after the retirement of its founder, having acquired UK Coal plc.

In 2012, UK Coal were fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety laws after a death of a miner.[8] The miner died after equipment fell on him at the Kellingley Colliery. This marks the third death at the site in four years.


Coal mining[edit]

The company operates one deep mine located in Central England, at Kellingley.[9] Surface mines have been sold to UKCSMR Limited in late 2014.[10] Coal extraction has declined from 37.1 million tonnes ('MT') in 1995 to around 7 MT in 2009.[11]

Coal reserves[edit]

At year end 2008, the company estimated coal reserves and resources of 105 MT at the mines, of which 45 MT is accessible under existing five year mining and investment plans. Production of the other 60 MT will require further investment and other costs.[12]

Contracts and prices[edit]

The company has commitments to deliver coal to customers. Its most important customers are electricity generators. These contracts may have a duration of many years. In these contracts volumes and prices of the coal are agreed. The prices agreed are a mix of:

  • market prices
  • market prices with agreed minimum and maximum prices in order to protect the customer and UK Coal
  • fixed price contracts with inflation indexation
  • fixed price contracts.[13]

Proposed developments[edit]

Due to price increases in imported energy resources since 2005 the economic viability of British mined coal has increased. Therefore, in 2010 the Company has proposed a series of developments, mainly opencast mining, including the Minorca mine project development in Measham, Leicestershire.[14] Since UK Coal exited surface mining in late 2014,[10] it is unlikely that these plans materialize.

Recent mine closures[edit]

One deep mine, the Welbeck colliery, in Nottinghamshire closed in 2011 after continuous production since 1912.[15] 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.[16]

Thoresby Colliery was shut in July 2015, while Kellingley is set to cease production in December 2015.[9]

Renewable energy[edit]

The company has moved into renewable energy in recent years, 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.[17] Harworth Power was sold on 1 October 2012 to Red Rose Infrastructure Limited for £20.30 million.[18] 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.[18]

Property assets (land)[edit]

At the end of 2007 Harworth Estates land was estimated to be worth £411 million.[11] 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).[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ At a glance, UK Coal .
  2. ^ a b "UK Coal PLC – Completion of Restructuring". Hemscottir. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Completion of Restructuring". Latest news. Coal field resources. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "UK Coal PLC – Confirmation of name change to Coalfield Resources". Hemscottir. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Restructuring preserves 2,000 jobs". UK Coal. July 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "At a glance". UK Coal. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  7. ^ UK Coal: History[dead link]
  8. ^ "UK Coal fined over miner Ian Cameron's death". BBC News. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  9. ^ a b [1]
  10. ^ a b [2]
  11. ^ a b UK Coal: Company information[dead link]
  12. ^ UK Coal Annual report 2008, page 24
  13. ^ UK Coal Annual report 2008, page 19
  14. ^ "Minorca Opencast Protest Group". Minorca Opencast Protest Group. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "Welbeck Colliery". UK coal. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "Britain to give UK Coal 10 mln stg loan to fund mine closures | Reuters". 10 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  17. ^ UK Coal: the Company[dead link]
  18. ^ a b [3][dead link]
  19. ^ "Harworth Estates". Retrieved 10 April 2014. 

External links[edit]