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End of an era for defiant Welsh coal mine
HIRWAUN (Reuters) - A Welsh coalmine whose defiant workers saved it from closure by buying it from their bosses 13 years ago finally shut down on Friday -- because its coal reserves have run out.
Despite gloomy warnings from industry experts, almost 240 miners turned Tower Colliery into a going concern after they used their redundancy money and a bank loan to buy the pit from its managers.
They became the first pitmen in history to become owners after the then Conservative government decided to close it down.
In its first year, one of the oldest continuously worked pits in the world made a profit of two million pounds. Since then it has provided jobs for hundreds of miners.
"Imagine -- back in the 1990s, the Valleys were a wilderness," said retired miner Glyn Roberts. "It put the pride back into the Valleys," he told Sky News.
Local MP Ann Clwyd said: "For me it's a great triumph today as the men showed the coal was here and there was a market for it."
Most of the Hirwaun miners are expected to find jobs at two new drift mines in the Neath Valley.
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