June 16, 2010 | Brenkley News
More than 20 of the region’s leading landowners and land agents have been learning about the management of land from which minerals are being extracted during a visit to the north’s largest surface coal mine.
Members of the north east branch of the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) 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 are carried out.
Details of the mine’s eventual restoration and landscaping were also on the agenda, as well as an update on the creation of the £2.5m Northumberlandia landform, upon which work has begun on land adjacent to the mine.
At 400m long and up to 34 metres high, Northumberlandia will be the world’s largest sculpted human form, and is being formed from 1.5 million tonnes of soil and clay taken from the Shotton site.
The CLA members heard presentations about the company’s work in surface mining, property development, renewable energy and waste management before being taken on a tour of the 300-hectare Shotton site by Banks’ environment and community director Mark Dowdall and production manager Kevin Banks to witness operations for themselves.
Angus Collingwood-Cameron, CLA director in the north east says: “Many of our members have experience of mineral extraction work happening on their land, or are looking at it as an option for the future, but we were all surprised by the sheer scale of the Shotton operations.
“Given the site’s proximity to the A1 and other local roads, we would have expected to have had some sort of indication that something of this size was there, but until we actually entered the site, we had no idea that there was.
“Banks had clearly made a significant investment in developing what is an exemplary site, and the visit gave our members a great deal of useful information about every aspect of its operation, as well as about the work currently taking place to create the exciting Northumberlandia landform.”
Mark Dowdall adds: “We work closely with a large number of CLA members and other landowners around many of our projects, and are always pleased to help any interested parties learn more about all the aspects of a modern surface mine’s operations.”