A Year at The Banks Group, By Harry McCabe, earth science placement student, Banks Mining

September 2, 2019 | Group News

Pictured above: Harry McCabe on site with a noise level monitor at Shotton surface mine

I’m Harry McCabe and I am studying earth science at Newcastle University; a new course mixing together geology, hydrology and civil engineering as well as some environmental aspects. After finishing my second year of university, I joined The Banks Group for a year in industry before completing my course next year.

I applied to Banks for an industrial placement as I was keen to gain first-hand experience within a development company and extend my knowledge of the industry for employment opportunities in the future. I also really liked the level of responsibility that Banks show in their projects, with the community always at the forefront of the project. After my first two years at university, I have developed an interest for the minerals and extraction sector. The geology, operations and economics are aspects that fascinate me, particularly with added complications of political uncertainty and limited resources. Other sectors such as renewable energy are also something I’m keen to learn about. The work undertaken at The Banks Group is perfectly suited to my interests, so I’m really looking forward to my time here.

My role at Banks during my year’s placement is an environmental and sustainability co-ordinator. Part of my role is to assist with environmental monitoring to ensure that Banks continue to keep up their long-standing approach to protecting the environment and “Development with Care”. This is part of the reason I applied to Banks; I like the way the company aims to work sensitively with regard for the environment and local communities during the operational phase, then doesn’t just restore land, but further improves the area from social, environmental, landscape and economic perspectives. I will also be assisting with Banks’ efforts to work in an environmentally sustainable way, researching potential new ways to increase the sustainability of Banks’ projects, which is increasingly important at this time with pressing issues like climate change.

So far in my first week at Banks, I have seen first hand how the community team operates. I found it really interesting to see the way that the team engages with the local community with meetings and public exhibitions, and also uses social media and news releases to communicate on various aspects of Banks’ developments and operations, landscaping work and the local community benefits funds. I have also been collating raw data for the group’s annual greenhouse gas emissions report and liaising with environmental consultants preparing the reports. This has been a challenging but a valuable introduction to carbon accounting.

So far, I have visited all of the environmental monitoring locations for noise, vibration and air quality at the Bradley, Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface coal mines, which has demonstrated to me how committed Banks are to protecting the local area. I’ve been introduced to the various software the company uses to access environmental data and acting on this data will become a large part of my role here. I have been on site tours of the Shotton, Brenkley and Bradley surface mines. I found this fascinating to see how site managers carry out their work but was also really impressed at how the surrounding environment is always a priority, with landscaped noise screening bunds, dust suppression and reduced emissions all being implemented.

I have met Banks team of landscape architects, coal quality managers, planners, engineers, graphic designers and have been really impressed by all their work. The variety of roles at Banks originally surprised me, but now I have learnt that all the roles at all the sites are integral to Banks being able to carry out the work we do in the most responsible way.

Everybody here has been so helpful at integrating me into the company whether it has been IT help, showing how to use software or even just inviting me out for lunch. I’m really pleased to be here and can’t wait for the year ahead!

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