Restoration work at a former West Lothian surface mine is moving towards its final stages.
Banks Mining has been working on the restoration of its Rusha surface coal mine near Breich since coal production finished in April last year, and has made good progress in replacing the overburden material from the storage mound into the excavated mining voids, as well as in replacing the sub-soil and top-soil over large parts of the site.
Work at the Rusha site has now been suspended until next spring, when it is hoped that weather and ground conditions will be suitable for the final soil replacement to be completed.
The site will be regularly visited by the Rusha management team over the winter to ensure no issues arise unnoticed, and it is expected that restoration will be complete by the end of next summer.
The company is also looking for further applications to the community benefits fund linked to the Rusha surface mine, from which 17 grants totalling over £49,000 have already been allocated to a variety of community projects in the local area, including Breich Valley Church, the Stoneyburn & Bents Future Vision Group, the West Calder Bowling Club, and the Bee Happy Craft Group.
A further £19,264 is still available to support suitable groups and good causes in the Fauldhouse and Breich Valley ward, and the firm is hoping to be able to distribute this money over the next year.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group says: “Banks Mining has a proud record of fully restoring every single one of the 111 surface mines that we have worked in the last four decades, and we’re pleased with the progress of restoration work at Rusha over the last year.
“The very wet weather over the last few weeks means that we can’t now carry out soil handling and replacement work, and so need to wait until drier weather and ground conditions arrive in the spring in order to complete the job.
“Our aim is to complete this work by the end of next summer, at which point a five-year aftercare plan will come into effect which will see further landscaping work involving under-drainage, ditching and cultivation, tree and hedge planting carried out to deliver the approved restoration plan.
“The Banks Community Fund for the Rusha site has supported many worthwhile community projects over the last few years, making a big difference to the facilities that are available to local people, and we know there will be other groups and good causes around the area that could also benefit.
“We’re keen to allocate the remaining monies in the fund within the coming months, and would encourage local community groups to make applications sooner rather than later.”
Any issues relating to the Rusha site over the winter period can be reported to site manager Ian Ritchie on 07714 702323.
Anyone looking for support from the Rusha community fund should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 or via firstname.lastname@example.org to check whether their group or project is eligible.