The UK's largest opencast coalmine is being shuttered after an extension to keep it running was rejected, following 16 years of excavation.

According to a report by the BBC, the operators of the Ffos-y-Fran site, located near Merthyr Tydfil asked for an extension until 2024, arguing coal from the mine was needed by the steel industry, but planning officials advised that the proposed extension did not fit with Welsh government policies on tackling climate change.

"This sets a strong precedent about any more coal coming from Wales."

Haf Elgar, director, Friends of the Earth Cymru

Friends of the Earth Cymru director Haf Elgar said she felt a "big sense of relief", adding: "This sets a strong precedent about any more coal coming from Wales."

After 15 years, planning permission ran out in September 2022 - but the company in charge applied for an extension.

Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd wanted to be allowed to keep coal mining until the end of March 2024 and push back the date for final restoration of the site to June 2026.

Welsh government coal policy prevents the development of new mines or extensions to existing ones apart from in ‘wholly exceptional circumstances’, but the company argued it qualified, claiming to have a role of ‘national importance’ in supplying the Tata Steel’s Port Talbot steelworks.

The decision to close the mine marks the 'end of another chapter in Wales' long history of coalmining', stated the report.

Source: BBC