Jobs threat at 130-year-old coking plant

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A 130-YEAR-OLD coking plant in South Yorkshire could be closed down as early as next Spring if its owner fails to secure the contracts to make it viable.

The Monckton site at Royston near Barnsley, which employs 125 workers, is the only independent coke production plant in the UK and is one of Europe’s leading producers of high-quality metallurgical coke.

But its owner Hargreaves Services, which recently closed Maltby deep mine in South Yorkshire ​​with the loss of more than 500 jobs ​following dangerous geological conditions​, said volatile pricing has h​it Monckton.

The firm said: ​“​Against this background, the board will, in the coming weeks, review whether Monckton can achieve sufficient contractual certainty in current market conditions to justify the level of working capital deployed to support the operation.

“If a decision is subsequently taken to close Monckton in this financial year that would be expected to be significantly cash positive and would create an additional working capital inflow over the current and proceeding financial year.”

A spokesman said closure will only be an option if the site cannot achieve “sufficient contractual certainty”.

Monckton produces 200,000 tonnes of coke per year​, which is used in ​​steel manufacturing​, ​​glass, detergents and coke for home heating.

​Hargreaves said it will provide an update on its review of Monckton at its annual results on September 9​.