Thursday, September 11, 2014

News: Hargreaves pleased with progress in closing Maltby

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Hargreaves Services plc, the UK's leading supplier of solid fuels, has reported that the mine shafts have been filled and capped as part of the overall restoration programme at Maltby Colliery in Rotherham.

The 500 acre colliery was mined for over 100 years until geological conditions could not be overcome and underground operations ceased in 2013. It had around 500 staff.

Owners and operators, Hargreaves decided to mothball the mine following no viable alternative solution being found to geological reports that indicated that the risks associated with mining a new panel, called T125, had not significantly reduced and that the panel is not viable on health and safety, geological, and financial grounds.

In its latest financial results, Hargreaves said that the closure programme continues in line with plan and that the mine shafts have been filled and capped as part of Maltby's overall restoration programme and that it just waiting on formal certification of this completion.

Maltby's No 3 Winding Tower met with an explosive end in July as a number of disused and redundant colliery buildings were demolished.

In a statement, the board of Hargreaves said that it "is very pleased with the progress that has been made in closing the Maltby operation and thanks all the staff and other stakeholders involved. The project has been completed on time, on budget and to a high quality."

A number of Maltby miners successfully transferred across to Hatfield Colliery near Doncaster, which Hargreaves previously managed on behalf of its owners. A large number of skilled workers were recruited to the group's contracting arm, Hargreaves Technical Resources.

Hargreaves added that it is working hard with local authorities to "optimise the value of land to the Group and to the local community."

The immediate future of the site is as Maltby Energy Park, with operator Alkane Energy generating energy from the coal mine methane assets for an estimated period of up to 15 years.

Alkane Energy paid £7.5m to buy coal mine methane (CMM) assets at Maltby from Hargreaves Services last year. £2m will be paid to acquire additional site infrastructure assets six months after the mine shafts are satisfactorily sealed as part of the planned closure of Maltby Colliery. This is expected to occur by October 2014.

Now operating at full production, some 115 million cubic metres of pure methane will be extracted from the mine void and the coal left underground.

Alkane said in its latest financial results that current output from Maltby is ahead of expectations and that they expect production in the second half to compensate for the delayed shaft sealing operations.

Rothbiz reported last month that Alkane had completed a multimillion pound deal with Egdon Resources, a leading player in shale gas exploration, for the interest in the current licence to explore for the controversial energy source in Rotherham.

Hargreaves website
Alkane Energy website

Images: Hargreaves Logistics

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