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Thursday, February 26, 1998 Published at 21:36 GMT


New pit could create 300 jobs
image: [ The proposed mine could help create 300 new jobs in South Wales ]
The proposed mine could help create 300 new jobs in South Wales

Up to 300 jobs could be created in South Wales with the opening of the first new deep coal mine in the region for 20 years.

In a £25m project, private mining company Celtic Energy is teaming up with the Tower Colliery workers who bought their own 'uneconomic' pit from British Coal and then turned it into a resounding profit-making success.

If planning permission is approved, the new deep mine will be sited at Margam, near Port Talbot, to tap into estimated reserves of 27 million tonnes of coal.

The huge scheme, with a minimum life of 20 years, will create 200 mining jobs and a further 100 long-term posts in local transport and other support industries.

[ image: New challenge for miners from Tower Colliery]
New challenge for miners from Tower Colliery
Production could start in about three years, supplying an annual 400,000 tonnes of coal to markets in cement production, power generation and steel-making at British Steel's nearby plant.

Celtic Energy's Chief Executive Dale Hart, said coal from Margam would replace imports and boost Britain's balance of payments at the same time.

"This coal will be able to compete with the rest of the world, without subsidies.

"There is a diverse customer base for this top quality product, based on sustainable supplies at Margam.

History in the making

"We are delighted to be able to work in co-operation with Tower Colliery to open up the first deep mine in Wales for 20 years.

"Our two Welsh companies are carrying South Wales coal into the next millennium."

Celtic Energy and Tower Colliery will form a joint project team to bring the plans into operation.

The move marks a big leap forward for the 300 Tower miners at Hirwaun, Mid-Glamorgan, who have been looking for other opportunities in South Wales to develop their company since setting up in 1995.

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