March 1, 2016 | Brenkley News
Fifty new jobs could be created by a regional employer if plans for a new surface mine on the border between Newcastle and Northumberland are approved.
Banks Mining, part of The Banks Group, is bringing forward proposals for the Dewley Hill surface mine, which would be located on agricultural land to the north of the A69’s Throckley junction, to the east of the B6326 Ponteland Road, and which would run for a limited period of just three and a half years between the start of coaling and the completion of restoration.
Durham-headquartered Banks is looking to extract around 800,000 tonnes of very high quality coal from the Dewley Hill site, most of which would be used for industrial purposes, as well as fire clay and other minerals.
The family-owned firm will be undertaking discussions with local residents over the coming months around how they think the overall development package might achieve the maximum economic, environmental and social benefit from it for their communities.
A planning application is expected to be submitted for the scheme later this year, with coaling scheduled to begin during 2018 if the project gets the go ahead.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, says: “The Dewley Hill site has the potential to support 50 new, highly skilled jobs, as well as to open up substantial new opportunities for locally-based suppliers, and would extend our long-term record of investing in the communities in which we operate.
“The coal at Dewley Hill is of an exceptionally high quality, and we are certain that there will be real demand for both it and the other minerals that we would be mining there over what would be a very short timeframe for a scheme of this type.
“All our operations are specifically designed to bring a wide range of economic, employment, social and supply chain benefits to the communities in which they’re based, and while we have some ideas on how these benefits might be realised through the Dewley Hill scheme, we’re very much open to hearing more from local people.”
Banks Mining is now looking for further suggestions from local people about how they think the overall development package might best be utilised.
Ideas that have been put forward so far include measures to reduce the flooding risks posed to local communities from the nearby Ouse Burn and Dewley Burn, and enhancement of local heritage assets such as the historic wagon ways which are surviving examples of the rich mining heritage in the region.
The Dewley Hill scheme is located in an area where UK Coal put forward a larger surface mine proposal over fifteen years ago, and Banks Mining has already moved to address the concerns that led to that proposal being turned down.
Family-owned Banks, which previously worked and restored a smaller surface mine scheme at Dewley Hill in the 1990s, currently employs more than 200 people at the Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington, and its North East mining operations already contribute around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments, business rates and the local supply chain.
Mark Dowdall continues: “As a North East company with four decades of surface mining experience, we have the skills and experience required to work the Dewley Hill site in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible way.
“We work hard to include local people, groups and community leaders in the development, operation and restoration of all our surface mines, providing them with the opportunity to contribute their views throughout the design process, so that they can be factored into the final design we submit for planning approval.”
For further information on the project, and to register support for it, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/dewley-hill