A COAL mining giant which operates a site in North West Leicestershire is appealing for urgent financial help which it says is required to keep its mines open.
UK Coal, which runs Minorca Surface Mine site, in Measham, said it is in advanced talks to raise ‘at least £10 million’ needed and is working with the government and private investors.
Andrew Mackintosh from UK Coal said the firm was ‘very confident’ of being able to get the cash and find a long-term investor in the business.
The firm currently owns eight pits across England, employing 2,000 people.
Mr Mackintosh blamed the firm’s latest financial problems on the global market with falling coal prices on top of a fire which destroyed, and subsequently closed, its Daw Mill Colliery in Warwickshire.
Last year the firm said it had gone into administration as a result of the fire.
Mr Mackintosh said: “We do need that investment, it is important for the future.
“There are difficult days ahead but at the moment everything’s looking positive as far as discussions are concerned.
“We have got to make sure discussions are completed soon so we can start talking about where we go from here.”
This comes only months after the firm lodged plans for a major extension to its opencast coal mine in North West Leicestershire
The firm is just over a year into an expected four-and-a-half-year mining operation, at the site off Gallows Lane.
It wants to dig out a further 250,000 tonnes of coal from the site, where the county minerals authority approved the extraction of 1.5 million tonnes of coal and fireclay back in June 2011.
A spokesman for UK Coal Surface Mines said: “There is an opportunity to recover a further 250,000 tonnes of coal from within a relatively small area (1.9 hectares) adjacent to the existing 130 hectare site boundary.
“The application includes a restoration scheme which would rebuild the ageing farmhouse that is on the area in question.
“It would not require any extension of the site’s current operational timescale or for any additional materials to be stored above ground.
“No extra HGV movements would be needed.”
A decision is expected in the coming months now plans have been officially submitted,