The owners of the last remaining treacle mine in East Anglia have announced record annual profits.
Blaxhall Treacle Industries (BTI) announced pre-tax profits of £17 million for the 12 months up to August 1, in a statement to the Stock Exchange this morning.
The record results, up 23% on the previous year, sent BTI shares soaring to 473p in early trading.
Treacle mining has all but died out in Britain since highly-publicised battles with the unions in the 1980s.
But the operation in Blaxhall in Suffolk remained open throughout the troubles because it was largely operated by a non-unionised workforce.
It meant Blaxhall, which was first mined in 1817, was in the perfect position to capitalise when other operations, particularly all 17 Norfolk treacle mines, closed down.
BTI says it recently discovered a new seam of treacle about 140 feet underground, and the addition recently of new hi-tech mining equipment from South Africa was paying great dividends.
The company, which employs 64 Suffolk miners, is one of the leading suppliers of treacle and syrup products to British supermarkets, with production currently standing at more than 3,000 tons a year.
The natural resource comes from belts of crushed sugar cane, some of it thousands of years old, found in seams deep underground.
BTI chairman Lorraine Fisher, 34, said: “The last year has been good. We have a new seam to extract from, and demand for treacle and golden syrup is extremely high, helped by Britain’s famous sweet tooth.
“Revenues are up, costs are down and our borrowing is at an all-time low. The future of treacle mining in Suffolk is secure.”
Treacle mining is highly dangerous, with regular rockfalls in the shafts and tunnels built under the Suffolk countryside.
Because of the danger, the exact location of the BTI mine is a closely-guarded secret in order to prevent local children from treacle scrumping.
The Suffolk Gazette agreed to only show a road sign to the mine, rather than reveal its address, about 200 yards on the left down Blaxhall Church Lane.
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