Redundancy threat as coke plant hit by ‘unprecedented turmoil’ in Europe

​Workers at Monckton coke plant are to be notified of potential redundancy after the plant’s parent Hargreaves Services admitted that a significant change in both market conditions and customer demand are needed to secure the plant’s future.

The group said last month it was reviewing the future of Monckton, which has been hit by “unprecedented turmoil” in European coke markets.

The consultation process will last for a minimum of 45 days and could involve the loss of 125 jobs.

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​The 130-year-old coking plant in South Yorkshire could be closed down as early as next Spring if Hargreaves fails to secure enough contracts. Hargreaves said that discussions continue with key export customers.

The Monckton site at Royston near Barnsley is the only independent coke production plant in the UK and is ranked as one of Europe’s leading producers of high-quality metallurgical coke.​

​Gordon Banham, CEO of Hargreaves, said: “Hargreaves acquired Monckton in 2005. Whilst great progress has been made by the team in improving efficiency and environmental performance over the past​ 10 years, the coke markets have become increasingly challenging for the business. I have worked closely with the management team and it is with great personal sadness that we find ourselves having to start this consultation process.”

He added that although Monckton has benefited from a number of higher priced legacy contracts and was budgeted to make a profit of £2.0m, the outlook beyond this year is “very poor” given current market prices.