Coal mine main shafts can be from 3 – 8 mtrs on diameter and allow manual and equipment access plus the transport of coal from depths of up to 1000mtrs.
The cost of constructing mine shafts can be £100 million also drilling multiply bores can be very costly.
Mine running costs of ventilation, water pumping, lighting, and power supply can be considerable.
When coal mines are producing, the mine running costs form part of the cost of the produced coal.
When it is decided to close a mine then two considerations are deemed to be essential.
1. To stop the cost of mine services.
2. To ensure manual, public and geological safety of the mine.
Often it is not possible to recover much of the mine working equipment.
When there is no coal production then there is no coal income to offset the mine services costs.
It is normal procedure when a mine closes to stop production and manual access then shut down the mine running services.
The shutting down of the mine services is quickly followed by plugging of the mine shaft to permanently prevent any access to the mine and its previous workings and so safety becomes a prime consideration and so safety is of course paramount.
However developments over time can mean that modern approach and new thinking can combine safely for the common benefit.
Now in the case of Thoresby and Kellingley mines closure has been decided, but a period of rundown has been given in order to soften the blow of redundancies.
However I would like to bring to the notice of the politicians and executives involved that in addition to the manual run down there is the potential to recover additional £ millions of value from Thoresby colliery and which could also extend to Kellingley mine shut down.
Stan Ball, SB Dev Ltd