Northumberland students on site at Shotton to mine careers information

March 4, 2014 | Brenkley News

Students from a Northumberland college have been visiting a local surface mine to see how they might build a future career in their chosen area of interest.

Nine Year 12 geology students from the James Calvert Spence College in Amble visited regional employer Banks Mining’s Shotton surface mine near Cramlington to see for themselves how a modern surface mine operates and examine the work done on site by Banks’ team of geologists and engineers.

The students were accompanied on the visit by their teacher, Peter Fleet, and by Northumberland County Councillor and chair of the county’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Scott Dickinson.

The school party heard presentations on Banks’ operations at Shotton, including the creation of the nearby Northumberlandia landform, which was formed using 1.5 million tonnes of carefully selected stone, clay and soil taken from the Shotton site, and also on the health, safety and environmental protection measures Banks put in place.

Banks employs over 200 people across the Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine sites, and contributes around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain.  It also provides more than £400,000 in annual business rates to Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council through the two projects.

Councillor Scott Dickinson says: “This was an ideal opportunity to visit a working site and see at first-hand the measures that Banks puts in place to safeguard communities from issues such as noise and dust, which are monitored, recorded and minimised using the latest industry technologies and working practices.

“It was also ideal for the James Calvert Spence College students to see for themselves what they may have only seen in books about coal extraction and the layers beneath our feet, which can only help them with both their current studies and their future careers, and it’s been a very worthwhile trip for all of us.”

Banks Mining is currently looking to extend its operations into three new areas at the Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines, which would enable the excavation of around one million additional tonnes of coal across the two sites, but which would not require any extension of their present operational timelines.

The Durham-based family business is also currently conducting a public consultation around the proposed Highthorn surface mine, to the east of the village of Widdrington Station, which would sustain over 150 local jobs for more than a decade and provide an opportunity to add new and improved community and tourism resources to the area.

Katie Perkin, communications manager at The Banks Group adds: “We’re very pleased to have welcomed Cllr Dickinson and the Amble students to Shotton, and to have shown them how we operate our Shotton surface mining site safely, responsibly and efficiently.

“Banks has worked in this part of Northumberland for more than three decades and is now one of the county’s largest private sector employers.  Our operations deliver significant employment, supply chain and community benefits to the local area, and we’re now working hard to ensure that they remain in place for many years to come.”

For more information about operations at the Shotton surface mine, please visit

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