Operations – Selar

Selar Opencast Coal Site is located approximately 1.5km south of the small town of Glynneath in the Neath Valley.

The site lies predominantly within the administrative area of Neath Port Talbot County Borough with the main site access road running through a small area of Rhondda Cynon Taff. The scheme covers an area of 330 hectares with approximately 180 hectares forming the main operational area.

Approval was given for the scheme in 1994 on the eve of the privatisation of British Coal and the site fell into the portfolio for the South Wales area. Celtic Energy was successful in its bid for the South Wales area and the site came under company ownership once privatisation was complete.

Due to delays associated with privatisation and those caused by environmental protesters the scheme did not formally start until Spring 1997. Permission for an extension of time to work the reserve has recently been granted, subject to condition and coaling at the site is due to cease in 2010.

The coal on site is derived from five main seams locally known as the Four Foot, Six Foot, Cornish, Nine Foot and Brass.

The total quantity to be excavated from the site is estimated at approximately 3.5 Million tonnes of anthracite. Reserves of over 1 Million tonnes are still to be excavated.
Once the coal has been won it is transferred by road to the designated disposal point at Celtic Energy’s Onllwyn Washery. Coal is produced at a rate of between 8-10,000 tonnes per week.

60 Million m3 of material will be moved during the life of the scheme using primarily 300 tonne excavators and 100 tonne dumptrucks.

The site employs 100 people with 70 directly employed and 30 sub-contractors.

The proposed restoration strategy will replace the former poorly developing forestry plantations with open mountain pasture and some agricultural grazing land, reflecting the traditional use of the land prior to coal mining. Watercourses will be reinstated to follow the original lines of the old mountain streams which existed before opencast operations during the post war era, with their banks planted with a variety of broad leaved trees. Public access will be improved by the provision of vehicular tracks, parking areas and an enhanced network of footpaths and bridleways. Public interest will be centred on several small wetland or conservation areas with parking facilities, picnic areas and vantage points spread across the site.

A Nature Reserve was created on the Western side of the site as part of an agreed package of mitigation measures for the loss of Selar Farm SSSI. The proposed Reserve is 85 hectares (210 acres ) in extent. The package includes setting aside existing land of intrinsic landscape and biological conservation value, undertaking restoration work to improve the quality of despoiled land within the reserve, and the provision of areas to receive and sustain vegetation transferred from the SSSI. The Reserve will be managed in a manner to preserve and enhance its ecological value. The status of the Reserve is protected by legal agreement with the Planning Authority.

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