A BIG boost could be on its way to the Neath Valley if a mine delivers its ambitious targets.
It is hoped that by 2018, Aberpergwm Mine near Glynneath, will be producing one million tonnes of coal and will employ a workforce of 529.
The figures have been revealed by Blaengwrach councillor Alf Siddley, who sits on the mine’s liaison committee.
He said in 2013 just 55,000 tonnes were delivered with a workforce of 65. In 2012 a total of 300 jobs were lost just days before Christmas in 2012, when the mine closed.
But in December, Walter Energy said work had resumed “minimal” operations at the drift mine.
Mr Siddley said for this year the projection is 233,000 tonnes with 165 workers.
In 2016 the predicted tonnage is 670,000 with a workforce of 388. In 2018 the mine is predicted to employ 529 people and will produce one million tonnes of coal.
Chairwoman of the Glynneath and Cwmgwrach Regeneration Group, Janice Jenkins, said: “It is exciting news for both Cwmgwrach and Glynneath. It was a big blow when the workforce was reduced.
“We always had hoped it would pick up. Hopefully we will have a roll on effect with businesses and jobs.
“It is good news all around as we have not had much lately.”
In November a wind farm was refused planning permission due to its possible impact on the mine.
Wind Ventures proposed to operate a 27 MW wind farm with nine wind turbines with a maximum height of 125 metres on land east of Crynant and south of Seven Sisters.
Head of planning Nicola Pearce, said the reason for the refusal was that “the proposal would adversely impact on future operations planned at Aberpergwm Mine and it has not been demonstrated that these risks could be satisfactorily mitigated against”.
Walter Energy Group and Energybuild — owners of the mine — hold planning permission to mine the seams directly beneath the turbine proposal.
Mr Siddley said that he did not want the decision overturned in case it “jeopardised future investment” for the mine.
The mine were not available for comment.