Administrators have confirmed that 180 jobs will be lost at Unity Mine near Neath. 30 staff will remain at the site while further investment is sought. Richard Morgan reports.
Saddened to hear of Unity Mine redundancies though glad some staff retained for maintenance. Calling for talks with Admins, WG, NUM & NPTCBC
"This is a savage blow to the miners, their families and our local community" says Neath MP Peter Hain
"The mineworkers union, myself and the Welsh Government have worked very hard to try and save the jobs but, depressingly, to no avail."
"I have asked the Administrator to keep the 25 apprentices on along with the care and maintenance staff so that these miners of the future can maintain their training course accreditations without which their prospect of becoming fully qualified will be badly damaged."
"The mine contains the highest quality anthracite for which there is a big world demand and, with the right investors, it could still have a bright future offering vital, highly skilled, well paid jobs.
Over the past few months the mine has commenced an operational transition from continuous mining, which was not economically viable due to prevailing geological conditions, to long wall mining.
For the Company to implement its new mining plan it will need to purchase long wall mining equipment, for which funding is not currently available.
While the Administrators are seeking this new investment a team of some 30 staff will undertake a care and maintenance programme to give the mine the best possible opportunity to attract the funds it needs.
It is intended that the new investment will facilitate the completion of the transition to long wall mining and that long term viability and sustainable employment opportunities can be achieved.
– Cork Gully LLP, Administrators
Following negotiations instigated by the Company’s directors over the past few months, the Administrators have already received a high level of enquiries from potential investors and discussions are on-going but no firm timetable can yet be set.
Administrators of Unity Mine, near Neath, have confirmed 80 jobs are to go at the colliery.
A team of 30 staff will remain at the site to carry out care and maintenance while investors are sought.
Administrators have been appointed at Wales' largest drift mine which they say recently employed over 200.
They say they're looking to talk to potential investors for the Unity Mine near Neath and that the mine's subject to a care and maintenance programme to keep it safe.
The National Union of Mineworkers say they're still hopeful that the troubled Unity Mine near Neath can be saved, after it was announced that the plant had been placed into administration.
Bosses at the drift mine - which employs 220 people - were meeting with apprentices today, with administrators due to meet the rest of the workforce on Monday.
Richard Morgan reports.
"The potential investment and returns for that investment are huge in this particular mine" says Wayne Thomas, from the National Union of Mineworkers.
"The access is already there, and the working methods could be adapted slightly.
"But the investment returns are there for the longer term, and I think there's stability there... for these individuals in South Wales who want to work in coal mining."
Economy Minister Edwina Hart says the Welsh Government is continuing to work with the owners of Unity Mine to secure its future.
"Over the last few years, the industry has experienced difficulties with the fall in global coal prices which have placed considerable financial pressure on operators" she says.
"While we are working with company to offer assistance, in compliance within state-aid rules, there are wider financial pressures and challenges that have meant that the company has had to take this decision."
"Discussions with third party investors are on-going, and I welcome the Director’s intention to protect the current work force while fundraising negotiations are continuing with various parties to seek to secure the long term future of the Mine and its highly skilled workforce."
ITV News understands that the owners of the Unity Mine in Neath are filing for administration.
Around 200 people currently work at the site.
Local AM, Gwenda Thomas, told us: "It is extremely regrettable that Unity mine has gone into administration."
– Gwenda Thomas AM, Neath
I sincerely hope that the administrators can find new owners for the mine, and preserve the miners’ jobs and the future of the apprentices. Welsh Government officials continue to be in discussion with the mine.