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Tower Colliery, Hirwaun

The story of Tower Colliery is one of fighting the system and of great success & local pride. Along with all deep mines, Tower was closed by British Coal in 1994 on the grounds that it would be uneconomic in current market conditions to continue production. Rather than accept the decision the workers at Tower, Led by local NUM Branch Secretary Tyrone O’Sullivan, decided to attempt a buy out of the site. 239 miners joined TEBO (Tower Employees Buy-Out), with each pledging £8,000 from their redundancy payouts to buy back Tower. Against stiff central government resistance to the possibility of reopening the mine as a coal production unit, a price of £2 million was eventually agreed.

The site continued to operate until the seams were completely exhausted in 2008. The buildings were continued to be maintained by the workers who still take pride in their colliery and the actions that brought about an extended production life.

The extraordinary story has recently started a new chapter with the announcement that they are going to create an open cast mining site on the location of the former washery connected to the colliery. This will provide up to 250 new jobs and the coal will be supplying Aberthaw Power Station.

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