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UK waves farewell to last deep coal mine

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 01:29

An end of an industry era as Britain's last deep coal mine closes for good. As Grace Pascoe reports, cheaper imports, rising costs and a government push away from coal in Britain's energy mix have all caused the industry to slump.

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The last bastions of the coal industry. These miners leave the Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire for the last time. 50 years after it opened. Andrew Levinson is Kellingley's Welfare Chairman. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KELLINGLEY MINER'S WELFARE, CHAIRMAN, ANDREW LEVINSON, SAYING: "A bit empty inside obviously. But in one sense it being the last day a lot of pride, because it is the last opportunity to see some of these guys... And it is a shame its come to an end... I'm sure it will be emotional today, I'll shed a tear as many of these guys will. Because they are some of the greatest guys I've ever met in my life." UK Coal's Kellingley is Britain's last deep-cast coal mine. Tighter EU environmental standards were a blow to the already suffering industry. And cheap imports from countries like Colombia and Russia have priced domestic coal out of the market. Leaving around 450 miners out of work. Miner Garry Ward points the finger at the UK government. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KELLINGLEY COLLIERY WORKER, GARRY WARD, SAYING: "What's next? We've been let down, they keep coming up with these economic issues and things like that there's things they could have put in place. Everybody knows we've got to decarbonise and go green, we know that. But we're not ready for it." In the last century, the mining industry employed some 1.2 million people at nearly 3,000 collieries. This not just a closure of a mine, but the end of an era.

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UK waves farewell to last deep coal mine

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 01:29