Fears of job losses at Neath Valley mine
NEATH MP Peter Hain has raised concerns about the possibility of workers being laid off at a Neath Valley mine.
According to Mr Hain, the director of The Unity Mine, Richard Nugent, has told him he is having to lay off employees due to delays in planning consents.
In response, Neath Port Talbot Council, said the status of the planning applications “does not however impact upon the ability of the developer to continue to operate the existing drift mine”.
Mr Hain said: "I have been called by Richard Nugent who told me that men were being laid off because of delays from Neath Port Talbot County Council in delivering planning consents necessary to give confidence for new investment.
"This is deeply disappointing and I have asked that every effort is made to resolve the problems urgently.
"The fall in the world price of coal has also put pressure on Unity and made the planning delays more acute.
"The jobs are paid well above the local average and are vital for local communities.
"I have worked hard to try to support Unity Mine as an essential and important local employer."
Blaengwrach councillor Alf Siddley said he had concerns about the potential loss of jobs at the mine, which is located at Heol Wenallt, Cwmgwrach."Any loss of jobs is critical to this area," he said.
A spokeswoman for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said they were aware of the issue, but "did not know the extent of it".She added: "Meetings will be taking place next week."
The Post contacted Unity Mine but Mr Nugent was unavailable.
Director of environment John Flower said: "The Planning Authority are currently dealing with two applications on this site.
"The un-determined status of these applications does not however impact upon the ability of the developer to continue to operate the existing drift mine. The Planning Department has been working with the site operator for a number of years and has taken a pragmatic approach to the problems experienced in complying with the existing planning permissions and conditions."
Around 290 people lost their jobs when the nearby Aberpergwm Colliery closed just days before Christmas last year.
In 2011, TRW factory in Resolven ceased production, resulting in more than 200 job losses.