Hundreds of protesters are expected to descend on Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine this weekend.
The ‘End Coal Now’ camp is being organised by climate activist
network Reclaim the Power over the May Day bank holiday.
Campaigners have said they are trying to shut operations down at
the Merthyr Tydfil mine. They are also protesting against plans by mine owners Miller Argent to open a similar operation in Nant Llesg on land between Fochriw and Rhymney.
Ellen Gibson, a spokesperson from Reclaim the Power, said: “The
local community have battled the giant Ffos-y-Fran mine polluting their homes and our planet for nearly a decade.
“Now we are joining them to resist coal company Miller Argent’s
attempts to override local democracy and force through a new mine next door.”
Caerphilly County Borough Council rejected plans for Nant Llesg last year, but the decision has now gone to a planning appeal.
Chris Austin secretary of local campaign group, United Valleys
Action Group, said: “This camp will boost the local community
who are campaigning against dangerous levels of air pollution, noise and degradation of our beautiful landscape.
“It will also draw greater attention to the bullying tactics coal companies are using to try and overturn community rejection and enclose common land at Nant Llesg.”
United Valleys Action Group Vice Chair Eddy Blanche added: “It’s
fantastic that people are paying this much attention to our part of Wales. Any help they can be to us is great. We hope it’s a peaceful protest.”
Neil Brown, Managing Director at Miller Argent, said: “Our main
concern is for the safety of our employees, the protesters and the
“Supporting the steel industry, affordable electricity and climate
change are all important issues. What we need is a sensible debate
that supports jobs in Wales. Welsh coal is an important part of this.”
If approved by the planning appeal, the Nant Llesg mine could
bring up to 239 jobs to the area with six million tonnes of coal mined over at least a 14-year period.