Celtic Energy, a UK-based coal mining company, is to extract around 1.2 million tons of coal and create around 50 jobs at its Bryn Defaid opencast coal mine at Llydcoed near Aberdare, following the approval of its proposal by local councillors.

According to the proposal, the company can excavate up to a maximum depth of 110m and must spend one and half year on restoration period after the five years of mining as the proposed site is a nature conserved area and contains 104ha of forests, farmlands, moors and coal spoil tips.

However, villagers in Llwydcoed objected the approval claiming that mining will create noise pollution and environmental damage.

Planning officers were quoted by BBC as saying that the restoration plan and a 25 year aftercare period would help limit the environmental impact to acceptable levels, and have recommended approval of the scheme.

Celtic Energy spokesman said opponents of opencast mining fail to recognise the many benefits that such schemes would bring in terms of employment, apprenticeships, long term biodiversity, landscape and amenity benefits as well as direct financial support to community projects to name but a few.

"Coal is still a valuable energy mineral and an important employer with over 1,000 people still employed directly in coal extraction in south Wales. The 50 new jobs created by this scheme will further add to this number," spokesman added.