Operations – Surface Coal Mining

Celtic Energy operate three surface coal mining sites; Selar, Nant Helen and East Pit, producing in excess of one million tonnes of coal per year. The sites are well established and are generally not visible from the local communities because of their geographical positions and because soil baffle mounds are constructed to screen the operations.

The sites have their own road systems or rail loading facilities so that coal can be transported from site without impact on the local communities. Coal is either transported to Onllwyn Distribution Centre for processing or transported direct to the customer.

The sites are worked using large mechanical excavators and 100 tonne dump trucks. The excavated material is either placed in mounds or backfilled into the excavation after the coal has been removed. Smaller excavators are used to excavate the coal and and articulated trucks are used to transfer the coal to an on site coal stocking ground. Ancillary plant are used to clean the coal seams, to maintain the roads and to support and maintain the mining plant.

Barrel wash plants are operated on the sites to recover coal from previous deep mine workings and from the coal seam cleanings.

Site water is channelled to sumps from where it is pumped to water treatment facilities before being discharged from the site. Site discharges are subject to strict limits imposed by the Environment Agency. The water is regularly sampled by the Agency and by Celtic Energy personnel for quality control purposes.

The mining plant excavate overburden to expose the coal seams. Blasting is undertaken daily to break up the overburden ahead of the mechanical excavators. Each blast is carefully designed and set out to minimise air pressure and ground vibration.

The operations of the site are subject to strict planning conditions imposed by the Mineral Planning Authority. Community liaison meetings and technical working party meetings are held regularly to discuss the progress of the site and to enable Celtic Energy to demonstrate compliance with the planning conditions.

Noise levels are controlled at source by utilising modern plant and equipment and noise is attenuated by the configuration of the site and by the construction of soil baffle mounds.

Dust levels are also controlled at source by the use of water bowsers to dampen excavation faces and blast areas when necessary and to dampen the site roads.

Noise, dust and vibration levels are regularly monitored so that data is available to demonstrate to the Mineral Planning Authority that planning limits are being complied with.