People power kept Nymboida mine running
THE old Nymboida colliery, which opened in 1909, originally supplied coal delivered by bullock teams to coastal steamers in Grafton.
The project grew over the years to the point where it had 150 people on the payroll - and supplied 500 tonnes of coal a week to the Koolkhan power station.
Due to falling profits, the operating company closed the colliery in 1975, sacking the miners with only a week's notice.
But the miners and the Miner's Union took it over to recover money owed in leave and long service entitlements. They continued to operate the mine and produce coal without the company's control.
Nymboida Collieries, relinquished control of the operation and the miners union continued to run the mine.
The Miners Federation NSW Northern District president Bill Chapman was quoted to say "The successful outcome has been achieved because of the grim determination of Nymboida men to continue working and to show everyone that the mine is a viable proposition and that the coal can be won for the benefit of the community and the nation as a whole".
The miners ran the coal mine for another four years before the Koolkhan Power Station was decommissioned in 1979, taking away the major market for the Nymboida coal.
Although the coal was of the highest quality, when its local market dried up, so did the work.
More recently, interest has been slow in mining the area around the old Nymboida colliery, with a proposal to use auger mining technically to tap into the coal seams around the Basin Creek area.