Coal production at the UK’s last remaining deep coal mine is set to end today.
Miners at Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire will work their final shifts, bringing an end to deep coal mining in this country.
The 450 miners who work at the pit - known locally as the Big K - will receive severance packages at 12 weeks of average pay.
Chris Kitchen, general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), told the Press Association it was a “sad day” for the country as well as the industry.
“I am sure people will argue not burning coal is better for the environment, but as far as I am concerned this is another vindictive act.”
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Owners UK Coal will oversee the rundown of the pit before the site is redeveloped.
Miners from the pit will join a march in nearby Knottingley on Saturday to mark the closure.
Phil Whitehurst, national officer of the GMB union, said: “The final 450 miners, the last in a long line stretching back for generations, are having to search for new jobs before the shafts that lead down to 30 million tons of untouched coal are sealed with concrete.
“Kellingley and the coal industry in general has been let down by successive governments - both Conservative and Labour - who have failed to halt the pit closures.
“Margaret Thatcher in 1984 wanted to break the NUM because it was the bastion of the trade union movement but failed, but David Cameron’s Conservative Government with no industrial strategy has now succeeded where Thatcher left off and the last deep mine in the UK is to go.
“This is a very sad day as our proud industrial heritage is destroyed by the Conservatives.”
The Mines Rescue Service, which has six sites across the UK, will relocate its operation at Kellingley next year to Knottingley, offering training and other services to industries including nuclear and aerospace.