A planning application for a new surface coal and fireclay mine on the border between Newcastle and Northumberland which would support up to 50 jobs has been submitted to Newcastle City Council for review.
The Dewley Hill surface mine is a joint planning application by Banks Mining, part of County Durham-headquartered employer the Banks Group, and Ibstock Brick, the owners of the Throckley Brickworks.
The Brickworks is around half a mile from the Dewley Hill site, which sits on agricultural land to the north of the A69’s Throckley junction and to the east of the B6326 Ponteland Road.
Around 800,000 tonnes of high quality coal would be extracted from the site, most of which would be used for industrial purposes such as the production of steel and cement, as well as 400,000 tonnes of fireclay, which will be used in the manufacturing of bricks at the nearby Ibstock Throckley brickworks.
The scheme would run for a limited period of three and a half years from the start of operations to the completion of restoration, and the companies are hoping to have the application determined by the City Council’s planning committee before the end of the year.
Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “This is a carefully-designed and sensibly-located scheme that will bring a wide range of tangible benefits to the local area and help to meet more of the UK’s continuing need for minerals from high-quality domestic resources.
“Imports of coal from Russia during January to March 2018 increased by over 730,000 tonnes compared to the same period a year earlier to make up for the shortfall in UK production. In one quarter the UK increased its reliance on imports from Russia by almost the entire tonnage we would mine at Dewley Hill in three and a half years. Not producing good quality coal from local reserves is simply offshoring not only much needed jobs and value, but also environmental responsibilities leading to an unnecessary increase in global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Fireclay is an essential component of the brick-making process, and is only found immediately beneath coal seams and therefore can only be accessed when extracting the coal seams which lie above it.
“This vitally important mineral is in very short supply in the UK and Dewley Hill will provide much needed future fireclay supply for the Throckley Brickworks, which will not only help protect North East jobs but will also assist the national drive to build more homes across the UK.
“Gaining access to these indigenous, raw materials will also further extend the Dewley Hill scheme’s positive contribution towards the country’s balance of payments.”
The Dewley Hill scheme has been designed to deliver a range of social, economic and environmental benefits, including a £50,000 community fund, a £50,000 skills fund to help local unemployed people overcome barriers to work, the planting of over 26,000 trees and hedgerows in a newly-created woodland area, and the enhancement of local heritage assets such as the historic wagonways, which are surviving examples of the rich mining heritage in the region.
Jeannie Kielty continues: “The site would support up to 50 highly skilled, well-paid jobs and will open up substantial new opportunities for local suppliers, extending our long-term record of investing in the communities in which we operate.
“As a North East company with over 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, and hope Newcastle City Council’s planning committee will recognise the merits of this scheme when our planning application comes before them.”
Nick Spence, Planning and Estates Manager for the North at Ibstock Brick, adds: “We are delighted to be working with Banks Mining on this project, as not only is this a joint mining programme that will deliver the raw materials we need, but it’s a joint ethos.
“Our approach to sustainable working is culturally aligned to Banks’ development with care approach, which places high value on community engagement and support and care for the environment.”
For further information on the project, and to register support for it, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/dewley-hill