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Tower of Strength in Wales

Geoff Riley

25th January 2008

Miners from Tower Colliery, Wales’ last deep mine, have marched for the final time marking its closure. 13 years ago the miners of Tower Colliery took the gamble that they could run the pit at a profit and raised £2m to bring about a management buy out of the threatened mine from UK Coal. Their risk-taking paid off and in the intervening years, over 600,000 tonnes of coal has been excavated from the seams. One of the leaders of the group - Tyrone O’Sullivan - has written a book about the history of Tower and the battle to save the pit. This is available from Amazon. But today (25th January 2008) the colliery closed the mine’s future sealed by the simple fact that deep underground, the coal has run out.

This BBC audio-visual report from BBC wales news is a strong and vivid piece and could easily be used as an illustration of structural change in the economy, the risks of unemployment and also some of the multplier effects that can kick in when a major employer closes down.

New drift and open cast mining is expanding in Wales and this will provide job opportunities for many of the miners formerly employed at Tower Colliery. For the remainder, many of whom are approaching retirement, the key will be the value that they can extract from the sale of the colliery land.

More background here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7191668.stm

First coal taken from new Welsh drift mine http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6925416.stm

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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