Pit shut by virus to re-open with control measures in place
13 October 2020
The Vale of Neath’s Aberpergwm Colliery which closed temporarily following a cluster of coronavirus cases among its workforce is due to resume mining on Wednesday, October 14th with strict measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Neath Port Talbot Council’s contact tracing service, working alongside Public Health Wales; the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); and Swansea Bay University Health Board agreed the voluntary closure with mine operators, Energybuild Ltd on Friday, October 2nd.
But after detailed inspections of the mine and a review of its working practices and existing coronavirus mitigation measures in place there by the HSE, a series of further multi-agency agreed virus control measures have now been put in place.
A security team will be at the drift mine to ensure the full list of measures are implemented correctly and workers returning to their jobs will be “walked through” the procedures before mining operations resume on Wednesday.
Cllr Leanne Jones, Neath Port Talbot Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection said: “The mining company has fully cooperated with investigations and the Council and partner agencies have been advising the management team as they develop the plans which will be required to safely reopen the mine.”
Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid added:
“I am glad the mine is able to reopen with appropriate safeguards in place.
“It’s an important reminder that in all workplaces we need to observe physical distancing, hand washing and ventilation as approaches to minimise risk of transmission and that workers who have symptoms, no matter how minor, need to self-isolate and seek testing. That’s important to keep both workers and businesses as safe as possible.”
Employees at the mine who tested positive have been given advice by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Test, Trace, Protect service and told to self-isolate.
Additional mobile testing capacity has also been arranged for the local area.
Over the next few weeks, a mobile testing unit will be visiting the Vale of Neath Leisure Centre, Chain Rd, Glynneath, every Tuesday and Saturday morning. This will provide up to 75 tests per session.
Anyone wanting a test at one of the mobile units must book in advance. The quickest and easiest way to book is online through the Welsh Government's website. Anyone who isn't able to book online can ring 01639 862757. Only book a test if you have symptoms.