Leading Welsh coal mining company, Celtic Energy, is investing heavily in Neath and Port Talbot, providing 25 new full time jobs and a £100 million boost to the local economy over 7 years.

The investment will be in East Pit (Gwaun Cae Gurwen), where the company has spent a total of £4 million in gearing up for production. This includes a £1.4 million spend alone on a new excavator and the introduction of a double shift in order to meet growing demand for Welsh coal. In total the number of jobs provided at the site will rise from 23 to 86, with 38 staff moving from other Celtic Energy sites. A major recruitment drive was launched to attract local people to fill the remaining positions.

With use of the new Hitachi EX1900-6 large hydraulic excavator which has a 12 m3 bucket and the double shift, it is estimated that East Pit will be able to produce approximately two million tonnes of coal in the next six to seven years, helping to address the UK’s growing energy gap with supplies of safe and secure fuel.

Wayne Evans, Site Manager at East Pit, comments: “We are due to be at full production capacity by the end of September at which point we will require around 86 people in total to work the site. In preparation, we have been undertaking a major recruitment drive which has resulted in 25 new jobs.”

“I am extremely proud to be working in an industry that is growing, providing more jobs for local people and investment in the local area. Many people said that coal mining in Wales would die, but we are able to provide new life for sites across South Wales, helping to provide secure energy supplies and prosperity.”

Richard Walters, Managing Director of Celtic Energy, added: “We are delighted that favourable market conditions now allow us to open up East Pit to full capacity. Before preliminary works began last year, the site had been dormant since 2001, but now we are playing our part in the revival of the coal industry in South Wales. With gas supplies becoming increasingly expensive and susceptible to disruption, coal has a vital role to play in ensuring that we can keep the lights on in years to come.”

Celtic Energy is committed to carrying out all its activities in a careful and considerate manner. At East Pit, every effort has been taken to ensure that any impacts on the environment or on local communities will be kept to an absolute minimum. This includes making sure 50% of coal is transported by rail in order to reduce traffic movements and disruption to the local community. Once work has been completed, the site will be sensitively restored to ensure that wildlife is able to flourish.

Celtic Energy Limited is the successor in South Wales to the former British Coal Corporation that was privatised by the Government in 1994 and was responsible for all of British Coal’s opencast mining activities in South Wales.