Coal-mines may be saved


London - Midlands Mining may save several coal-mines that are under the threat of closure due to lack of demand, the British Secretary of State for Energy, Mr John Battle, said yesterday. RBJ Mining, Britain's largest mining company, said it may be forced to shut down five to eight coal mines and dismiss 5,000 people due to a decreasing demand for coal. Mr Battle said he was surprised by the declarations of the company's director and said: "I would be very interested to know why he could be about to shut pits which others believe they can keep open."

Mr Jim Sorbie, founder of Midlands Mining, said the company was studying the possibility of buying some or all of the threatened mines. About 48,000 coal miners have lost their jobs since 1990.