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Tower Colliery

Hirwaun, Glamorgan, South Wales
All photographs on this page - Copyright Jeff Harris





Tower Colliery is located near the village of Hirwaun, in Glamorgan, South Wales.
The colliery, established in 1864, has been linked in the past with nearby mines, none of which remain operational.
Up to 14 seams have been worked at Tower Colliery and the neighbouring mines within the lease area of Tower.
British Coal considered Tower to be surplus to requirements, because of market constraints, and the mine was closed shortly before privatisation.
It reopened in 1995, when it was bought out by the management and men who worked the colliery prior to nationalisation.

"A History of Tower Colliery" can be found on the colliery's own web site, the link to which you can find on our "Links" page.



The only seam worked at Tower is the Seven Feet/Five Feet, a combined seam of several leaves which offers typically 1.3m of coal in a mined section of 1.65m. The coal being mined is a low volatile, anthracite product.

The boundaries are mostly formed by faults and seam splits, and by a worked out area to the north. There are also problems with water in the Bute seam, to north west, which limits mining in that area.

The Present

The main coal reserves in the Seven Feet/Five Feet seam are contained in the west of the present licence area.
Only four faces were laid out and planned in the western end of the working area, which BC previously regarded as economically recoverable.
Tower Colliery has outline plans to work possibly another nine faces beyond this limit, in coal classed only as mineral potential.
Exploration has been limited and little data is available.



Although there are reserves to the north east, they protect the main mine drifts from damage, so can only be worked at the end of the colliery's life.

Consultants have been called in to address the water problem in the Bute seam and they recommended drilling and probable dewatering.
Tower Colliery would appear not to regard these measures as cost effective when weighed against the amount of coal reserves which would be made attainable.

There are two other seams which offer mineable prospects; the Nine Feet seam, 100m above the presently mined level, and, the Four Feet seam, a further 30m above. Neither of these deposits appear as promising as the currently worked seam.

Tower Colliery is working just one longwall single retreat face in a section approx 1.6m, with three shifts per day.

Output is taken via conveyor through the surface drift and is treated in an on site washery plant which was erected in the late 1980's.

Schematic plan of Tower's workings and reserves

Click to see full image

Into the Future...

Future Prospects.

Annual output for the years 1998 to 2002 is a projected 0.57 Mt, with a possible increase in manpower to 406 when the colliery attempts to mine the economic areas of the Seven Feet/Five Feet to the west.

Due to exhaustion of the current seam, the mine's life is now very limited.
Tower Colliery's long term future seems to depend upon securing a long term contract which would finance the investment required to access another seam.

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