UK Coal representatives have been in talks with ministers over their company’s future since the Q1 2013 fire has brought them to the brink of voluntary liquidation. Michael Fallon, the U.K.’s new energy minister, told London’s Sunday Times that “we are looking at whether the ownership of Daw Mill can be transferred back to the Coal Authority.” Fallon also told reporters the government’s priority is to ensure “the viable parts of the business are maintained.” Outside the devastated site at Warwickshire, UK Coal officials have noted that their two remaining deep-pit mines and six surface mines remain viable.
The colliery fire, however, has cost UK Coal dearly, severing its main source of cash—to date it has already cost the company nearly $760 million in pension outlays. A partial state takeover could compensate for such unfulfilled pension mandates.
In a statement, UK Coal reps struck back at what they characterized as “unhelpful and inaccurate speculation” in the press, while expressing hope that government intervention could provide “a way forward for our remaining mines.”
The blaze at Daw Mill, which had long suffered operational problems, left 650 miners unemployed.