Cementation Mining Ltd began sinking the first of two 7.315 metre (24 feet) diameter shafts on October 29th 1976. No.1 Shaft reached the Barnsley Seam during 1981 and was continued to a full depth of 411 metres in order to form a sump. No.2 Shaft was 383 metres deep. Wistow had the smallest surface footprint of all the Selby mines.
Production began in June 1983, but it was found that, as the conventional faces retreated, the beds above the caved areas sagged, rather than totally collapsing. Voids developed which in turn filled with water, from the overlying Permian aquifer, which then entered the workings in large volumes. To prevent this ingress, a series of short single-entry retreat coal faces were worked. Bigger pillars were left between the panels of worked coal.
Production reached a little over three million tonnes per year during the 1990s, but then steadily fell back to nearer half that. Faced with poor geology and low coal prices, UK Coal mined its last coal at Wistow on May 13th 2004.