Rhymney business pledges to lead fight against open cast proposals

Today (17th July 2012) sees the launch of a new campaign group that aims to convince political decision makers of the strength of feeling in the upper Rhymney valley against proposals to develop a huge open cast mine at Nant Llesg - just metres away from the town of Rhymney.

Over the coming weeks, the Green Valleys Alliance will raise awareness of the real impact of the proposed open cast mine at Nant Llesg and take up the fight on behalf of local people who feel that proposals for the development of a second open cast mine, a few miles east of Merthyr’s controversial Ffos-y-Fran mine, represent a serious risk to the future of the area.

The proposals are currently being taken forward by the same Scottish developer, Miller Argent, and would see 3,000 acres of land set aside, within which the surface mining of 7-9 million tonnes of coal will take place over a period of around 20 years. The mining process itself would create a series of 150ft high ‘overburden dumps’ (a mixture of top soils and low quality coal), which will contribute to a constant stream of coal dust particles that will be blown by prevailing winds across the town.

Campaign spokesman Mitchell Field, who employs 140 people at Rhymney-based cosmetics business Richards & Appleby Ltd, started researching the impact open cast mines when he first became aware of the proposals in 2011. Nine months on, having received the backing of his own staff, local businesses, community groups and a number of political figures, he insists that it is time for the community to have its say;

“We have listened to the proposals by Miller Argent, including all the efforts they plan to reduce the impact of the pollution the mine will create, and from every perspective we can only see a negative impact for the town of Rhymney and all the people who live and work here,” explained Mr Field.

“All the evidence we can find from looking at similar mines in the UK and further afield suggests that the impact would not just be on people’s health and quality of life but also on the long term economic and environmental future of the region, should the proposals get the go ahead.”

Green Valleys Alliance has launched its own website, which it will use to share its research findings and communicate its strategies to local residents and businesses. The group seeks to put its point across to the political decision makers who are likely to have an influence on whether the proposals for a new open cast mine become a reality.

Mine developer Miller Argent intends to submit the planning application for a mine at Nant Llesg to Caerphilly Council this summer. The local authority will then undertake a period of public consultation.

The cumulative impact with Miller Argent’s existing mine at Ffos-y-Fran, together with the size and scale of the Nant Llesg proposal, means that should the mine be given the go ahead by Caerphilly Council, it will probably fall on the Welsh Government to adjudicate on the decision.

“We anticipate that this will be a long term campaign and businesses, as well as the community, need to recognise the real impact this mine will have on a whole generation,” Mr Field added.

“In the previous 20 years, many hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money has been spent to reverse the effects of coal mining and attract cleaner industries to the Valleys, and peoples’ health and quality of life has improved as a result. It is lunacy to reverse this strategy and undo all the good work that has been done.”

4 thoughts on âRhymney business pledges to lead fight against open cast proposalsâ

James Burton

Re: Rhaslas proposals. Dear sir/Madame, I know it is necessary for you to extract coal by whatever means necessary to fuel the power generators to power the factories that make cars to get the workers to the coal face, but have you ever considered the aesthetics and well being of the communities and environment in which you do so. We suffered 200 years of hellish ironworks and dark rivers only for you on a whim and pound profit before your eyes to go back there like a scene in Lord of The Rings (orcs).

Poetry aside, I have witnessed the AMAZING variety of waders and wildfowl (and turtles) that Rhaslas and the common of Gelligaer attracts. These sites are becoming rarer and rarer by the minute and have no substitute in the local area. Having these rare species are an indication of the health of Wales, black pits are not, they evoke a feeling of distaste and treachery to our forefathers who gave this common land to the commoners to be used as such untouched for eternity. You must understand that to break an oath with the Chief-tans of old will invoke their wrath, and ghosts of the titans are not to be trifled with.

May I suggest therefore that Rhaslas and the common of Gelligaer remain untouched while you ravage the rest of the landscape. You will still make the millions you feel you are entitled to, and give peace to us, the past and future by humbling yourselves into recognising the pleasure, tranquillity and forbearance that this ancient landscape gives to the soul, for which you may then be forgiven.

If however you persist in your haughty belligerence into casting the land and its wildlife into a hellish mire may I suggest that you compulsory purchase Tir Founder fields in Cwmbach and manage it as a replacement wader and wildfowl refuge .


Thanks for listening


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Good morning James,

Please take a look at the website - you will find that we are actually part of a group set up to oppose the mine at Nant Llesg and share many of your concerns.

Kind regards,

Green Valleys Alliance

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Lisa Banks

I am disgusted with this idea and I hope that it will not happen as me, my husband and our dog moved to Rhymney from Bristol to have a better life and so fsr we have had a better life and we are friends with one of our neighbours and their dog, but if this goes ahead they said they would move, so we’ll have lost friends and our quality of life will be worse especially if we get ill or the area gets a bad reputation from this going ahead, also one of my other friends lives right next to the propposed site and the husband has various health problems already and if this was allowed to happen it would probably kill him, so I hope and pray that this doesn’t happen.

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Deborah Price

As a member of UVAG I welcome any help in our fight to stop the opencast Nnant Llesg, the brochure and website is full of great information that will help the public fully understand the impact that another opencast mine in this area will have on health, children’s futures, environment and the area as a whole.
Great to see Mitchell Field having his say on the ITV news today also.
Thank You

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