Tower miners open their doors

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The Independent Online
Tower Colliery, Britain's only worker-owned pit and Wales's only surviving deep mine, is opening a window on mining history with a visitor centre, inaugurated yesterday in the shadow of the pit's winding gear in the Lee of Rhigus Mountain near Aberdare.

The colliery has been producing coal for more than a century and was saved from closure by British Coal in 1994 after the 240 miners each chipped in pounds 8,000 to buy it. It has been run at a profit for the last two years.

Tyrone O'Sullivan, former secretary of the Colliery's National Union of Mineworkers' lodge and now a director of the pit co-op, believes the saga of Tower's survival has lessons for other enterprises struggling to stay afloat. "Community support was vital to us. Our new visitors' centre underlines this and is a lasting tribute to those who helped us," Mr O'Sullivan said. Tony Heath