South West Wales

Unity Mine, Cwmgwrach, workers in further wait over job cuts

Workers at Wales' largest drift mine face a further wait to learn how many jobs will be lost in cutbacks.

Management at the Unity mine near Neath met officials from the National Union of Mineworkers on Monday amid fears that over half of the 200 workforce could be cut.

An announcement was expected on Tuesday but the deadline passed with no details being released. Another meeting is to be held on Thursday.

The mine at Cwmgwrach opened in 2007.

Neath MP Peter Hain said the mine's owner blamed the job losses on delays in planning consents which were necessary to give confidence for new investment.

He said he was told 100 men would be laid off from the end of this week, with possibly more to follow unless the problems were resolved soon.

BBC Wales has tried to contact mine management but nobody was available for comment.

Meanwhile Neath Port Talbot Council has denied being responsible for any delays in the planning process.

In January nearly 300 mining posts were lost at the Aberpergwm drift mine near Neath after its owners halted operations.

American firm Walter Energy announced last October it was consulting on a shutdown process, blaming poor economic conditions and a fall in demand.

A drift mine is one that miners can walk into rather than require a lift down to the coalface.

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