August 6, 2014 | Brenkley News
Plans to mine the first of two new areas on the site of a South East Northumberland surface mine have been approved by Northumberland County Council.
Regional employer Banks Mining has been looking to extend its existing operations at the Shotton surface mine in south east Northumberland, which has been operating since 2008, and which, alongside Banks’ nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine, currently contributes around £35m to the regional economy every year.
In September last year, the Durham-headquartered firm, which is one of Northumberland’s biggest private-sector employers, submitted a planning application for the first of the two additional areas at Shotton, which is located at the south west corner of the existing site and known as Shotton South West.
Having received the County Council’s approval for work in this area, Banks will extract up to 250,000 tonnes of coal from it, which will be transported away by road to the Port of Blyth. The additional mining will provide a further year’s work for the 150 employees at the Shotton site, with coaling set to be completed by October 2017 and full restoration carried out by October 2019.
A County Council decision on the second new area at Shotton, which is known as Shotton Triangle and which sits on the site’s western side, is expected to follow soon.
Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, says: “The discussions we had with local people and community representatives about this additional work were very positive, and we’re very pleased to be given permission by the County Council to begin operations at Shotton South West.
“We aim to work our Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines in a safe, responsible and efficient way, and our continued presence in the local area has enabled us to build strong relationships and deliver tangible benefits to the surrounding communities.”
Over 200 people are directly employed by Banks across the Shotton and Brenkley Lane sites, which already contribute more than £400,000 in business rates every year.
The two scheme have also enabled Banks to provide substantial support for local facilities through its Banks Community Fund, with over £785,000 given to groups and good causes in Northumberland over the last decade.
Mark Dowdall continues: “The Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines enable us to make significant, long-term contributions to both the local supply chain and regional economy, contributions which we will be developing even further in the future.
“Around 40% of the energy that we all use in the UK is produced through coal, and it makes far greater sense from an economic, environmental, employment and energy security point of view to maximise the use of indigenous reserves through a vibrant domestic coal industry, rather than relying on imports from potentially-unstable overseas markets.”
Anyone wanting more information on the Shotton South West and Shotton Triangle proposals should contact the Banks Mining development relations team on 0191 378 6100, or via firstname.lastname@example.org