A £615,000 plant investment is set to help North East employer Banks Mining make further progress in minimising vehicle emissions at its current and planned future operations in Northumberland.
The family-owned firm has taken delivery of three, 27.5 tonne Komatsu WA470-8 loading shovels at its Shotton surface mine near Cramlington, which are now being used to move materials around the Shotton site and which provide fuel efficiency savings of around 40 per cent compared to other similar plant.
The machines, which can carry a load of up to eight tonnes, have been sourced through Marubeni-Komatsu’s Chester-le-Street branch, and have been tailored to meet the specific operating requirements at Shotton, with the Komatsu and Banks Mining teams working together to develop detailed production studies to identify the best machines for the work required.
The loading shovels are equipped with a state of the art telemetry system which provide a range of data that will help Banks to monitor and manage the way the machines are being used to help ensure they’re performing with maximum efficiency.
The investment has enabled Banks Mining to continue with its policy of working with local suppliers wherever possible, and follows on from a £3.5m investment made in new mobile plant last year through the Boldon branch of Finning (UK), Caterpillar’s Peterlee site, and the Scot JCB dealership in Newcastle.
Durham-headquartered Banks Mining has worked in South East Northumberland for more than three decades, and employs around 200 people across its Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane mining sites.
The two 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 Northumberland community groups and good causes over the last decade alone through the Banks Community Fund.
Robbie Bentham, plant director at Banks Mining, says: “Keeping our plant fleet up to date, ensuring it is working with maximum efficiency and making the right equipment available to our highly-skilled teams are all essential parts of our surface mining operations.
“We recognised the benefits that would come with an investment in this next generation equipment, and have had excellent support from the local Komatsu team in configuring the vehicles to do the work that we require in the best possible way.
“The regular performance data that we are getting from the new equipment is invaluable, and having greater fuel efficiency is helping us in our continuing drive to minimise emissions from plant used on our surface mines.
“Working with regionally-based suppliers in this way enables us to maximise our investment in the North East economy, and it’s hugely advantageous to have easy access to this expert Komatsu team within our home region.”
Arron Mellors, sales manager at Marubeni-Komatsu’s Chester-le-Street branch, adds: “We listened to the operational requirements that Banks Mining wanted to fulfil, and carried out a number of site visits and surveys to ensure we were providing exactly the right machine for the job.
“The data we’ve gathered from the vehicles so far shows they’re performing as we would have hoped, and the drivers are quickly getting used to operating their new machines.
“There’s a strong relationship between ourselves, Banks Mining and the Komatsu factory at Birtley, and it’s good for us as a business to have a client of this size on our doorstep.”