The happenings at the Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine will not make mining contractors happy. Climate activists have established their base alongside the mine, which is located in Merthyr Tydfil. The group, Reclaim the Power, said that it will halt operations at the mine. The protestors want to stop opencast mining in Wales.
Miller Argent, the mining contractor operating Ffos-y-Fran mine, stated that its mining activities in Merthyr Tydfil have created 230 local jobs besides generating affordable electricity in the UK. The company has also provided £6 million from its community fund for local good causes. However, Reclaim the Power claims the mine is polluting the area.
Miller Argent had its application for a new opencast mine in Nant Llesg rejected in August 2015. At the moment, the company is appealing this decision. If reversed, it will be able to start a new mine spread over an area of 478 hectares.
Miller Argent South Wales Managing Director Neil Brown said that opencast mining was a local industry and created local jobs. He added that people do not realise that the company supported the steel industry in the UK and made electricity affordable with its activities.
Brown stated that the Conservative Government’s policies meant that power generating companies were paying five times more carbon tax than similar companies in Europe. This is the reason companies were struggling with high energy prices. As an example, Brown said that UK energy prices were 65% higher than German wholesale prices.
The UK Government has reiterated its support for low-carbon alternatives to coal-fired power, and it is trying to encourage investment in this sector. This is a requirement, as the country not only needs to upgrade its energy infrastructure but also has to meet the CO2 emission reduction targets.
However, Miller Argent said that it wants an impartial debate on climate change policies, which it says is important, and affordable energy generation.