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Opencast plan for Tower Colliery site in Hirwaun


WARD : Rhigos

Date Registered: 15/07/2010

Application Ref: 10/0292/10

Application Type: Full planning permission

Proposal: Land remediation and reclamation of old tips, derelict land and buildings; surface coal extraction and associated ancillary development including improvements to the access onto the A4061; recontouring and landscaping of the site to enable future re-development; restoration and aftercare for agricultural purposes, nature conservation with public access and provision of a visitor/education centre.



Tower Regeneration Ltd
Tower Colliery
Treherbert Road
CF44 9UF


Plans have been submitted for an opencast mine at the site of the last deep pit in Wales.
Tower Colliery near Hirwaun closed in 2008 but around 6m tonnes of anthracite remain untapped.
Tyrone O'Sullivan, the man who led the successful workers' buyout of the mine when it faced closure in 1994, is behind the idea.
An application has been submitted to Rhondda Cynon Taf council and is likely to be considered later in the year
It is estimated the opencast operation would last for around seven years after which landscaping and remedial work would take place.

The coal would be extracted from a depth of down to 165m, and is on the 480-acre (195 hectares) old washery site, and the opencast will be 200 acres (80 hectares) in size.
It would be transported by train to Aberthaw power station in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The site is still owned by the 280 directors - former miners - of Tower colliery.

Mr O'Sullivan said the directors saw the scheme as a legacy project for the area, with waste from the opencast mining being used to strengthen iron workings below.
He said: "We would love to have worked it as an ordinary deep mine, to extend the life and all the skills of the workforce at Tower [colliery], but it's too shallow for that, so it'll be opencasted.
"It's a very exciting time. This is the one chance we can have of taking the coal out, using that to secure the iron workings that's below as well.

"Then we would have a site perfect for a redevelopment programme, which I think is very exciting for jobs, housing, tourism, leisure and a retail park.

"It's something we can bring to the valleys - new jobs, modern jobs for Wales - that we desperately need."
He said he expected opposition to the opencast plan but not from people in the locality.

"We will have some objections. I don't believe the people of Hirwaun, Rhigos and Penywaun [will object] because they have lived next to a huge coal heap for 200 years, really," he said.

The council said the application, which is accompanied by an environmental statement, is unlikely to be considered before November.

A spokesman said consultation had been carried out and, although the deadline for responses was Thursday, anyone interested in making comments both for and against could continue to do so until the application went before its development control committee.

Tower Colliery was bought by 239 miners in 1995, who pooled their £8,000 redundancy money to raise £2m, a year after it was closed down.
Experts warned them that their plan would not work, but it remained open or 13 years.


"We will have some

"We will have some objections. I don't believe the people of Hirwaun, Rhigos and Penywaun [will object] because they have lived next to a huge coal heap for 200 years, really," he said.

He's living on a different planet or should I say Mumbles, if he thinks everyone from the above villages are going to support his and "the boys" multi million pound earning venture, on the promise of some Oasis being built at the end of how ever many years of pollution.

What a patronising,

What a patronising, condescending attitude this man has. Who the hell does he think he is? What he's actually saying is that they're used to living next to a s***hole, so they shouldn't have any objection to this proposal when they don't know any better anyway.

It'll go through though; of that you can be certain, because when it comes to environmental matters, whether it's housing estates on communal green areas or opencast sites, both RCT council and central goverments of whatever politcal hue pay mere lip service to safeguarding the planet and future generations. It's jobs and profits that come before all other considerations.

Now I can't fault the laudable aim of jobs, but I have to ask at what point we are going to take seriously the threat of climate change through the burning of fossil fuels. Are these people sufficiently aware of the threat or are they like the proverbial ostrich with their heads in the sand?

Coal is still the dirtiest of all fuels, even though there are tales of "clean coal" processes. They don't exist; at least not yet, and with rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, fossil fuel burning is set to continue irrespective of that fact.

Look at what they've done in Merthyr, where the top of a whole mountain has been removed to extract 10 million tons of the stuff. Some environmental concerns there, eh, but nobody with the power to do anything about it gave a damn.

True, there are few people living around the site at Tower, but to tell the people of Hirwaun and Penywaun that they should not object because they're used to dirt and filth is downright arrogance. That's exactly the same attitude that the original coal and iron masters had towards us in the valleys. Now Tyrone O' Sullivan, born and brought up here, is telling us the same thing.

Some people never learn.

Yes, the novel Animal Farm

Yes, the novel Animal Farm springs to mind!

Let them mine the coal. Make

Let them mine the coal. Make as much money as they can. The directors of Tower have the right to do what they want with that land. The only people to object will the people who are not making any money out of it. Jealous about the boys again.

big brown envelopes will be

big brown envelopes will be passed under the table knowing this council. KERCHING KERCHING KERCHING sod the proles they know what they see or that the elders and betters will manage the area cos they know best.Scratch my back scratch yours suit you sir.

If you complain they will send you to room 101

And which heads of the

And which heads of the valley company has a finger in this PIE again mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Heard there was a publci

Heard there was a publci meeting in Hirwaun the other week, anyone go?

Was told there were very strong views on both sides of the argument.

Also told there was a vote in the meeting and it was about 50 / 50 with many wanting it for the jobs and the long term developments and others saying its would be an eyesore.

being held in the telephone

being held in the telephone kiosk on hirwaun industrial estate

The public meeting was in

The public meeting was in Hirwaun village hall i understand and about 200 people attended so no not in a telephone box!

Whats peoples views on this the open cast? The online vote on this site is now slightly in favour of it.

What I would like to know is what will happen to the site if this doesnt go ahead? Can Tower be made to clean the site up?

The jobs are short term (7 Years) and the effect on the community is the same, if they get planning can they then be made to reclaim the whole site after the opencast is finished.

I'm still on the fence on this one but think it will all come down to the long term plans for the area

If this does go ahead and it

If this does go ahead and it most probably will Mr O'Sullivan and his 280 or so directors will be all set to make a huge profit when the land is susequently sold off for redevelopment,so of course they are eager to see this passed. Its the people of Hirwaun and Penderyn who will have to put up with the ongoing works for years to come with little or no benefit in the mean time.

Have they had the OK for

Have they had the OK for this open cast then or if not does anyone know when its likey to be heard by RCT?

I see the poll on Aberdrae online is slightly in favour of it, I want to know what are the long term plans for the area and if this does go ahead what will be the end result for the area???

The boys of tower are going

The boys of tower are going to make a lot more money, now that the opencast has got the green light. Tyrone O'Sullivan used to be a bit of a lefty, but now he is motivated by money. ( good for him )
All that rubbish about burning fossil fuels and global warming can go to hell. Who cares what happens to the planet in a hundred years time? Make money boys, as much and as fast as you can. Greed is good!

Nice one, cocoman; spoken

Nice one, cocoman; spoken like a true Neanderthal.

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