Hatfield Colliery Copyright © Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Hatfield Colliery
Copyright © Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Hatfield Main Colliery Co. Ltd chose a site next to the G.C.R’s Barnsley to Barnety line for its proposed new colliery. The latter was also linked to staithes on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation by a mineral line.

The first sod was cut to begin shaft sinking on October 14th 1911, and two 6.7 metre diameter shafts were sunk simultaneously. No.1 downcast shaft cut the Barnsley seam, at a depth of 786 metress, in August 1916. Problems with the influx of water meant that No.2 shaft was not finished until 1917. Both shafts were line with concrete. Like Askern, Hatfield was sunk on the Morley Campsell Fault Belt and the Stainforth Fault and the Stainforth Fault, trending WNW-ESE with a throw of 90 metres, passes close to the shafts. This effectively divides the colliery take into two parts, with pit bottoms at very different levels.

Coal getting in the Barnsley seam, in places up to 10 feet thick, began in 1917 and continued until 1983. Some work was also done in the Kent’s Thick seam between 1917 and 1922. The later was around 1.2 metres thick. Subsequent work was confined to the Barnsley seam.

In January 1927 Hatfield was incorporated into the Carlton Main Colliery Company, which began working the High Hazel seam. This was around four feet of high quality coal and was worked until 2004.

The National Coal Board merged its Hatfield and Thorne collieries in 1967, though the latter remained in mothballs. They were separated in 1978, when it was proposed to redevelop Thorne, but merged again in 1986 when that project was abandoned. British Coal stopped production on December 3rd 1993, but, in a management buyout, the Hatfield Coal Co. Ltd was incorporated on January 25th. British Coal cut its last coal in High Hazel seam on March 7th and the new company cut its first coal on July 7th 1994. A profit of £2.4 million was made in the first year, but geological problems in 2000 cut the planned output by a fifth from 500,000t/a. The company sought Operating Aid from the government, but this did not prevent the company going into receivership and closing the mine on August 9th 2001 with the loss of 223 jobs. The site was mothballed, with funding from the Department of Trade and Industry, until October when Coalpower Ltd, run by Richard Budge the former owner of RJB Mining, took control of the pit. In 2003 the company published plans for a 33 hectare “Power Park”. This would include a 450 MW power station at the site, but geological problems at the coal face led to losses and, in late 2003, Coalpower went into administration. The mine closed in early 2004.

Encouraged by the doubling of coal prices between 2004 and 2008, Richard Budge then formed Powerfuel to take on the colliery in 2006, and Russian coal company Kuzbassrazrezugol (KRU) took a 51% stake in the venture. Coal production began in March 2007. Plans for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) coal burning power station at the site were announced, and £180 million of EU funding was approved in 2009. Nevertheless, the CCS project failed to obtain sufficient investment for it to proceed. In December 2010, in part due to coal production problems, Powerfuel Mining Ltd entered administration.

In 2011 2Co Energy Ltd. (via holding Entero BV, backed by ING Bank) acquired the company and renamed it Hatfield Colliery Ltd. It planned to continue the CCS project, which it renamed “Don Valley Power Project”. The colliery was then managed under contract by Hargreaves Services plc, which was then working Maltby colliery. Production issues led to a three shift working pattern being adopted in 2013 and 70 of around 700 employees were made redundant.

On February 12th 2013 Hatfield was in the news when a major movement of spoil squeezed the underlying alluvium both displacing and heaving upwards the railway tracks over a distance of 550 yards. This closed the line until July.

An employee controlled company, Hatfield Colliery Partnership Limited (HCPL), purchased the mine from ING Bank in December 2013. A bridging loan of £4 million from the National Union of Mineworkers, in September 2014, allowed production to be moved to a new pit face. This was intended to extend mining until summer 2016, but coal production at Hatfield ended on June 29th 2015. Work on filling the shafts began in August.

Further reading:

  • NMRS Records, Gazetteer of British Collieries
  • Sections of Strata of the Yorkshire Coalfield, Midland Institute of Mining Engineers, 1927
  • Hill, A. The South Yorkshire Coalfield: A History and Development (Stroud: Tempus, 2002)
  • Hill, A. Colliery Ventilation (Matlock: Peak District Mines Historical Society Ltd, 2000)
  • Hill, A. Coal: A Chronology for Britain (NMRS, British Mining No.94, 2012)
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