Over 100 people to lose jobs as coal recovery suspended

Caroline Flint. Photo: Laura Lean/PA Wire
Caroline Flint. Photo: Laura Lean/PA Wire

A scheme to recover almost a million tonnes of coal at the site of a former Doncaster colliery has been abandoned, putting over 100 jobs at risk.

Coal tip recycling company RecyCoal said processing will stop at the site of the former Rossington Colliery this month, meaning 120 people could lose their jobs.

Market fluctuations have also hit the Doncaster firm’s other work in Sheffield. The Hesley Wood site, in Chapeltown, was set to be the home of a new plant where colliery waste would be removed for reprocessing.

But last January the venture was put on hold when the falling price of coal affected its viability – and now both schemes have been dropped completely.

A spokesman for RecyCoal said: “As many are well aware, the price of coal has played a large part in the delay in RecyCoal starting the Hesley Wood project and as such is now impacting upon the viability of the Rossington project.

“At present, RecyCoal have a fixed price coal contract of around $100 at Rossington which is set to end in mid-September 2015 with current coal prices at $60 which is unsustainable going forward. Therefore RecyCoal have taken the decision to cease operations as of September 2015 and begin a process of managed closure.

“The business is solvent and will continue to trade albeit with limited operations at Rossington in the shape of a fines recovery and sale operation that will pay for the restoration of the Rossington site.

“With relevance to the Hesley Wood project it is very unlikely RecyCoal will be able to pursue the proposed project but we expect to manage the site for the foreseeable future.”

The 120 workers affected work at the Rossington site and at three other locations in the borough which provide associated services. A consultation process was started with them in July.

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said: “I was saddened to hear that RecyCoal UK are closing their Rossington operation due to the falling price for the coal they produce, causing an immediate loss of over 100 local jobs.

“The production of coal from the Rossington colliery spoil heaps was an innovative recycling business, creating valuable jobs.

“It not only produced about 600,000 tonnes of coal that would have been wasted, but helps in the restoration of this land.

“I hope there is the opportunity to resume this or similar operations again in the future, on this site, or at other colliery tips in Doncaster that need regenerating.”

RecyCoal received planning approval to complete an environmentally-led coal recovery and land restoration scheme at the site in 2012.

The aim was to recover 950,000 tonnes of remnant coal and clean up over 13 million tonnes of colliery spoil over four years for electricity generation.