HEMSWORTH MP Jon Trickett has welcomed plans to create a new coal drift mine in his constituency as the industry battles extinction in the face of cheap imports.
Workers’ co-operative New Crofton Co-op Colliery Ltd is seeking to create up to 50 jobs and mine up to 6,000 tonnes of coal a week until 2036.
The drift mine is planned on a site off Santingley Lane, between Crofton and Wintersett, near Wakefield.
Members of Wakefield Council’s Planning and Highways Committee have passed the plans, which must now win government approval.
Mr Trickett said: “It’s good to have Yorkshire coal being mined here in Yorkshire. At the moment we are importing coal, which doesn’t make sense.
“My constituency, like most of Yorkshire, is built on coal. There are huge coal supplies throughout Yorkshire untapped.
“At the moment we are importing coal from all over the world and burning it here in Yorkshire.
“But if we can mine it in Yorkshire with Yorkshire workers that can only be a good thing.”
“I’m not aware of any deep mine being opened in England, certainly Yorkshire, in many years. I’m aware of open cast mines, but they are damaging to the environment.”
Mr Trickett added: “On the basis that these are high quality jobs and the environment is not going to be substantially damaged, it has got to be a good thing.”
“I’m told that 85 per cent of the coal is going out by rail. This is a welcome development, it’s real jobs and its going to have a community benefit.”
The co-operative, which is seeking has pledged to contribute £10m to the community around the mine.
It is led by engineer Bill Birch, who worked as a miner for 20 years. Following completion of the 22-year scheme, the co-operative would return the site to its former state.
Nostell Estates objected to the plans on a number of grounds, including negative impact on greenbelt land and increased traffic created by the mine.
Ryhill Parish Council pledged its support to the scheme stating that it will bring much-needed jobs to the area.
The new mines is planned as workers at nearby Kellingely Pit – one of Britain’s last two deep coal mine – face an uncertain future.
UK Coal announced plans in April to close Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire with the loss of 700 jobs.
The £20m UK Coal-managed closure programme was scuppered last month when Hargreaves, one of its private backers, pulled out of talks, increasing uncertainty for workers at Kellingley and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire over their immediate future.