21 Dec 2010

Plans to reopen Reefton mine welcomed

6:45 pm on 21 December 2010

The main mineworkers' union says plans to reopen a West Coast mine will be a much-needed boost to the region.

Solid Energy has conditionally agreed to sell the Terrace underground coal mine in Reefton to a private Australian company, Crusader Coal.

The Terrace mine was begun in the early 1900s but Solid Energy closed it last year, saying it was no longer economic to operate.

The Engineering, Manufacturing and Printing Union's assistant national secretary, Jed O'Connell, says it might only mean half a dozen jobs at first but it's good news for the struggling region.

Mr O'Connell says there's a lot of talk on the Coast about moving to Australia or further afield, so anything that keeps workers must be welcomed.

He says he's confident the Terrace mine will be safe enough to operate once independent experts have checked it.