MORE than 100 jobs have been safeguarded in the Neath Valley following the approval of a mining site extension.
Celtic Energy has been granted permission by Neath Port Talbot Council to extend Selar Opencast Coal Site near Glynneath for the extraction of 800,000 tonnes of coal.
A company spokesman confirmed that the approval has safeguarded 110 jobs over the next two and half years, and will help safeguard 72 jobs at Onllwyn Washery. It is also expected to create between 165 and 330 jobs indirectly.
Speaking at a planning committee meeting yesterday, Glynneath councillor Eddie Jones said out of the 110 jobs, 95 per cent of them are people who live from around 10 miles away. "It is about securing local employment for local people," he said.
His fellow ward councillor Del Morgan said there will be an impact on the community but he said it will be "absorbed".
He said he had been pleased with the current restoration work of the land being carried out by the company.
He added: "It is not just the 100 jobs but the spin-off jobs as well.
"That number of jobs is important to us."
Blaengwrach councillor Alf Siddley added: "I very pleased to see there is robust conditions to protect the wellbeing of the residents.
"I think it is a nice time to give the top of the valley a bit of good news before Christmas."
The proposal was granted permission subject to conditions and the signing of a section 106 agreement. The agreement includes that Celtic Energy will continue to give a community benefit of at a rate of 50p per tonne to the communities of Glynneath and Blaengwrch.