Technology investment fuels operational improvements at Banks Mining

April 15, 2015 | Brenkley News

Innovative web-based technology is set to help North East employer Banks Mining improve the way in which it utilises fuel resources across its mining operations.

Family-owned Banks Mining has commissioned fuel management specialists Liquid Management Solutions Ltd to develop and implement a comprehensive system which provides real-time data on every aspect of its fuel supply chain across its three active surface coal mines.

The six-figure project investment is being made after the successful completion of a two-year trial at the Rusha surface mine in West Lothian, Scotland.

As well as enabling Banks Mining to more accurately control its fuel usage, the system is also helping secure new operational efficiencies and decrease plant and vehicle emissions, and it will also assist in achieving compliance with the government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, a new energy assessment scheme for businesses.

The LMS system provides accurate web-based access to all inbound bulk fuel deliveries from the company’s fuel suppliers through to daily fuel transfers from static storage tanks to mobile fuel bowsers.

Fuel management terminals have been installed in each of Banks Mining’s seven mobile fuel bowsers, which automatically identify both the fuel quantity used and engine hours at the point of every fuelling for each item of plant.

Fuel usage by secondary items such as lighting towers, pumps, generators and sub-contractors is also captured accurately via alternative options to provide a complete commercial analysis of fuel usage which can then be used to highlight areas where improvements can be made.

Founded in County Durham in 1976, The Banks Group now employs over 420 people in surface mining, renewable energy and property development, with more than 200 of them based at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines in North East England and a further 50 at the Rusha site.

The two North East sites contribute around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain, as well as more than £700,000 in annual business rates to Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council through the two projects, and have enabled Banks Mining to donate around £800,000 to local groups and good causes in Northumberland over the last decade alone through the Banks Community Fund.

Jim Donnelly, divisional director at Banks Mining, says: “As well as fuel being a significant business cost that we always need to manage carefully, our Development With Care approach commits us to operating our mining sites to the highest environmental standards.

“We are pleased with the outcomes of the work that Liquid Management Solutions have done with us, which is enabling our fuel use on site to be more closely monitored and controlled, and thus helping us to find better ways of working, reducing our emissions and cutting our costs.

“Banks Mining has always tried to set new standards for our industry, whether through developing world-leading noise suppression technologies, our ‘Restoration First’ approach in the early stages of site operations or the long-term contributions we make to the communities around our mines, and this investment provides another example of our commitment to working in a safe, responsible and efficient way.”

Kevin Taylor, LMS Managing Director, adds: “It has been a real pleasure to work with every individual from Banks Mining, from the company’s management team through to the fuel bowser drivers. The dedication and focus to improving fuel efficiencies across their operations is clearly visible and commendable, and indicates a strong management focus to invest in proven solutions to control its annual fuel spend.”

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