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BBC Wales's Laura Jones
"Methane gas has been building up underground"
 real 56k

Monday, 10 July, 2000, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Gas prospectors target colliery
Bersham Colliery
Bersham Colliery closed in 1986
A former north Wales coal mine, which once employed hundreds of underground miners, may be used for power generation once again.

But instead of coal, prospectors are hoping to extract methane gas from the old Bersham colliery near Wrexham.

In its heyday the mine was one of the most important pits in the North Wales coalfield.

Up to 480 men lost their jobs when it closed 14 years ago.

Now Evergreen Resources (UK) is asking councillors to grant planning consent for an exploratory methane gas well.

Bersham Colliery
A test well would be sunk into the mine

The company is already prospecting for the gas in a number of locations in the region.

The site near Bersham Village has been selected because it lies directly above the shallowest point of the old mine where the gas is mostly likely to have accumulated.

It is estimated that the gas would be sufficient for up to ten years of methane gas production.

Site preparation and drilling is estimated to take about four weeks, followed by six to 12 months of monitoring and testing.

Landscape

If commercial production were proved to be viable, it would either be connected by pipeline to the nearest gas distribution pipeline, or a small gas-powered electricity generator would be installed with a connection to the National Grid.

Planning officials say that the scheme should go ahead.

But councillors are being told that that the application will have to be given careful consideration because of the landscape impacts of the development.

If commercial exploitation is proved viable, a further planning application would be needed for any other installations required.

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See also:

17 Apr 00 | Business
Coal industry's stay of execution
18 Apr 00 | Wales
Job hopes pinned on gas station
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