Weak market puts 90 valley mine jobs under threat
AROUND 90 mining jobs are at risk in the Neath Valley.
American firm Walter Energy is considering laying off almost a third of its workforce at the operation it runs at Aberpergwm near Glynneath as weakening conditions persist in the global coal market.
Rhidian Davies, managing director of Walter Energy's Welsh operation, stressed the parent company of the plant which currently employs around 334 people remained committed to its operation at Aberpergwm.
Mr Davies said workers would now enter into a 30-day consultation period.
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He said: "It will affect us all. It is not just workers, it is going to be across the board from management down."
But, Mr Davies reiterated the future of the mine at Aberpergwm was not in doubt and developments of the three main drivages on the site would continue with the mine's 30 apprentices unaffected by the cuts.
A spokesman for Walter Energy said: "The global economic environment is extremely difficult.
"This has had a significant impact on the coal industry.
"Walter Energy globally is scaling back certain projects as a result of the economic difficulties and as such Aberpergwm Colliery needs to be scaled back.
"After considering all possible options the company has decided that there's a risk that it will be unable to continue to provide work for all its employees at the Aberpergwm Colliery.
"It may therefore have to make redundancies."
Representatives from both the National Union of Mine workers (NUM) and the National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers (NACODS) have both been informed of the potential job losses.
Richard Nugent, commercial director of the Unity mine which employs 227 people at Cwmgwrach, said: "The global coal markets are way down.
"Essentially that has been created by a lack of demand in certain sectors of the world and in particular, steel."
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