European Experts View Environmental Best Practice At Northumberland Surface Mine

April 27, 2010 | Community News

Expert mineralogists from across Europe have been learning about industry-leading environmental practices during a visit to the north’s newest surface mine.

More than 40 delegates spent two days at Newcastle University for the annual conference of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain & Ireland’s Clay Minerals Group.

And as part of the event, delegates paid a half-day visit to The Banks Group’s Shotton surface mine on the Blagdon Estate in Northumberland, to see at first-hand how modern surface mine operations to keep its environmental impact down to a minimum.

The visit was organised by David Manning, Professor of Soil Science at Newcastle University’s School of Civil Engineering and Geoscience, and the Chair of the two-day conference.

Delegates and speakers came to the conference from countries including Hungary, Latvia, Russia, France, Romania and the US, as well as from across the UK.

The delegates heard presentations about Banks’ work in developing new renewable energy and sustainable property schemes in the region, before being taken on a tour of the 300-hectare Shotton site by Banks’ environment and community director Mark Dowdall and Banks’ senior geologist Liz Shaw to witness operations for themselves.

Professor David Manning says: “Our delegates’ primary interest was in the mining of fire clay, which is a key material used in the production of differently-coloured bricks, and which is only mined as a by-product of the surface mining industry, as happens at Shotton.

“The work being undertaken on site, and the lengths to which Banks goes to minimise the environmental impact of their work, created an excellent impression amongst the delegates, and even surprised a number of our locally-based people, who weren’t aware that such a large-scale scheme was just on their doorstep.

“We’ve had some great feedback on the day, and are very grateful to Banks for making an important contribution to a highly successful event.”

Mark Dowdall adds: “Having built strong links with Newcastle University over the years, we were very pleased to be able to host this visit, and to help demonstrate how we are striving to operate our mining sites to the highest environmental standards.”

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