Adverse winter weather has hit production of coal from Durham-based Hargreaves Services plc open-cast coal mines in Scotland – cutting revenue by up to £5 million.
Hargreaves’ Surface Mining division currently operates or manages nine surface mines across the UK – seven in Scotland, one in Wales and one in England – making it one of the largest developers of surface coal sites in the British Isles. ‘Surface mining’ (or open-cast mining) is the extraction of coal from seams lying just underneath the surface of the land.
Coal is a vital part of the UK’s energy mix. In 2014, it consistently provides around 40% of all electricity generated in the UK and the coal industry employs thousands of skilled workers, both directly and also indirectly through companies involved in the supply chain.
In 2013, Hargreaves Services acquired a significant number of surface mining and related assets in Scotland, as a result of the liquidation of two previous surface mine operators, Aardvark (TMC) Ltd and Scottish Coal. Set up 20 years ago, Hargreaves now employs around 450 Scots coal miners.
Gordon Banham, Hargreaves’ Chief Executive, said: “Backed by £40m of new funding from shareholders, we intend to make sure our company’s expansion into surface mining in Scotland is done from a strong financial platform.
“However, whilst our surface mining operations have performed well since the end of February and current production run rates are encouraging, the delays in the first half of the year in commencing operations and the extremely wet weather in January and February have meant that it has not been possible to recover all of the shortfall in production in the current period.
“The combined effect of these factors is anticipated to reduce the contribution from the Production Division in the financial year by between £3 million and £5 million.”
Hargreaves’ Scottish coal mining operations comprise:
Operations recommenced at this former Scottish Coal site in South Lanarkshire early in 2014. Hargreaves Surface Mining has been appointed the main contractor for the site to deliver the restoration programme and to re-establish coaling. The majority of coal from Broken Cross will be utilised by Scottish Power at Longannet Generation Station.
Duncanziemere is located in East Ayrshire near the village of Logan. Hargreaves Surface Mining is the main contractor for Duncanziemere and is delivering the restoration of the site while extracting the remaining coal. Plans for the restoration of the site were approved by the East Ayrshire Council Planning Committee in April 2014.
Glenmuckloch is located near Kirkconnel in Dumfries & Galloway. Hargreaves Surface Mining was appointed main contract for Glenmuckloch and is progressing the restoration of the site. Work is also underway removing the remaining coal from the surface mine.
House of Water
Located near Dalleagles in East Ayrshire, House of Water is part of a larger surface mine complex. Hargreaves Surface Mining is managing the site and delivering restoration. An application to vary the consent for the Burnston Remainder section of the complex was approved by East Ayrshire Council in April 2014.
Muir Dean is near Crossgates in Fife. Operations on this site recommenced at the end of 2013. Hargreaves Surface Mining is managing the restoration of the project, while extracting the remaining coal. Coal from Muir Dean is being utilised at Longannet.
Located near the village of Skares in East Ayrshire, Hargreaves Surface Mining is delivering the restoration of this project. Plans for the restoration of the site are currently (May 2014) being finalised ahead of review by East Ayrshire Council’s planning committee.
St Ninians is located near Kelty in Fife, with Hargreaves Surface Mining delivering the restoration of the site. This is part of the Fife Earth project and is due to be completed in early 2015.