Power Engineering International

Hatfield Power Park: new king coal? Powerfuel, a UK energy owned by coal mining entrepreneur Richard Budge and KRU, Russia's second biggest coal company, has moved a step closer to building what would be the world's largest 'clean coal' power station, a 900 MW IGCC facility adjacent to the reopened Hatfield colliery in South Yorkshire, England.(IGCC)

The Hatfield Colliery in South Yorkshire, UK has a fascinating history. Coal has been extracted at Hatfield since 1921, sitting as it does on one of the best coal seams in the whole of the coal-rich UK--the Barnsley seam. The seam that most Hatfield miners dug, however, was not the Barnsley seam but the High Hazel seam some 70m higher. In this seam was found coal that burned particularly well in home fires, and it was this coal that was given free to workers with the then National Coal Board.


The colliery was the scene of the some of the most fierce resistance to the great strike of the 1980s, when the UK government ordered a series of pit closures. Hatfield closed on economic grounds in 1993, but reopened a year later following a management buy-out. When the Hatfield Colliery Company went bankrupt in 2001, the colliery was bought up by UK coal entrepreneur Richard Budge's Coalpower.

In December 2003, however, Coalpower itself went into administration and a month later Hatfield once again ceased production, for what appeared to be the final time. Budge knew, however, that Hatfield sat on 27 million tonnes of some of the best coal in the UK, so, instead of filling in the tunnels to prevent subsidence, he put steel caps in the shafts and bided his time.

In 2006 Budge announced the formation of Powerfuel PLC, and that Kuzbassrazrezugol (KRU), the second largest coal producer in Russia, had acquired a 51 per cent shareholding. In April 2007, Hatfield was again re-opened at a cost of [pounds sterling]100m ($147m), half of which financed by the Russian state-owned VTB Bank. Furthermore, Powerfuel announced plans to sink a new shaft with the intention of cutting coal from the deeper, more valuable Barnsley seam. …

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