One of the Britain's last remaining deep coal mines is to shut with the loss of up to 650 jobs, it was announced today.
Daw Mill Colliery in north Warwickshire had been at risk of closure since March last year when bosses said a restructuring was needed to safeguard its medium-term future.
But the decision was brought forward following a major fire last month which continues to burn with no signs of it abating.
A small team will remain on site to secure the mine over coming months but owner UK Coal Mine Holdings said the majority of Daw Mill's 650-strong workforce will be made redundant.
It is the latest blow to the industry after Hargreaves Services said Maltby Colliery in Rotherham was no longer viable on health and safety grounds.
UK Coal said it was exploring the possible transfer of some staff to other mines but that the vast majority faced redundancy.
NUM president Chris Kitchen said the decision had been made in principle to wind down and work towards closure at the end of next year.
"That would have given our members 18 months' extra pay. These are dark times for the industry.
"It is devastating not just for these 650 men and their families but is also a warning sign for the rest of the country.
"Daw Mill produced two million tonnes of coal which will now have to be imported."
He said that this was the reason the union had always opposed privatisation - "because we could see this was going to happen.
"Thirty years afer she (Thatcher) started to try and destroy the industry and the NUM it is slowly coming to fruition."
The announcement comes as Labour MP and former NUM president Ian Lavery tabled an early day motion calling for urgent government intervention in the coal industry. He said it's not too late to nationalise the entire British coal resources.
"Although we have only got a handful of deep mines left, and a handful of surface mines, they are such a precious national asset that we cannot leave them to the vagaries of the free market.
"All of them could face closure within the next year or so - or sooner - if there is not major investment."
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