Ffos-y-Fran: UK’s largest opencast coal mine confirms closure date


Ffos-y-Fran: UK's largest opencast coal mine confirms closure date

The UK’s largest opencast coal mine has confirmed its closure date.

The planning permission to extract coal at the Ffos-y-Fran site in Merthyr Tydfil expired in September 2022 after 15 years.

Its appeal for more time was refused by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council on climate grounds.

Campaigners had been calling for the mine to close and recently launched legal action.

The operator, Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd, has now notified the Welsh government, it will cease operation on 30 November.

Around 180 workers at the site will be made redundant.

Some local residents have previously raised concerns about the levels of noise and dust.

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British heritage railways and traction engine owners will now have to import coal from overseas as their only source of UK coal will end.

Coal is the most polluting of all the fossil fuels and is being phased out across all sectors in the UK in favour of cleaner options like gas or entirely clean power.

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The chair of the Senedd’s climate change committee, Llyr Gruffydd, said the announcement brought “clarity” on an issue that had been “of significant concern for the local community and environmental campaigners”.

“It is important that we now look to the future,” he said.

“Ffos-y-Fran is a significant employer in the area, and we have asked the Welsh Government what plans are in place to support the workers and the local economy after the closure of the mine.”

The Green Party’s leader in Wales, Anthony Slaughter, called for the country to become “a renewables power house”, with “investments in green jobs”.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said the news would be “of significant concern to workers and their families”.

“Working closely with the site’s trade union, we will now ensure we provide a comprehensive package of support to those impacted,” they added.

A Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd spokesperson said the company has “submitted a notification to the government that the site will close on 30 November 2023, on completion of safety critical works to make the mine safe, regrettably all site employees, Operatives & Staff, will then be made redundant”.

They added: “The company is currently undertaking a statutory consultation process with all its employees through Unite the Union, while we deal with the human fall-out from this sad announcement and complete the consultation process, there will be no further comment from the company.”

Sky News has asked the site’s trade union, Unite, for its response to the closure.


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