Banks Mining is set to submit a request to Northumberland County Council to extract an additional two million tonnes of coal from its existing Shotton surface mine.

Located on the Blagdon Estate to the west of Cramlington, the Shotton mine now employs more than 110 people on site, and injects more than £12m into the regional economy every year.

Around 3.4 million tonnes of coal, two million tonnes of shale and 750,000 tonnes of fireclay were scheduled to be mined over the eight-year lifetime of the scheme, which has been active since the beginning of 2008, but Banks will now be asking for an additional two years to recover the additional coal supplies.

If the proposal is approved, this will mean that extraction will continue on site until 2016, with full restoration of the site to be completed during 2018.

Banks will operate within the current Shotton site boundaries to extract the extra coal, and site operations will be carried out on only a further three per cent (around ten hectares) of the site area to access these additional resources.
The new proposal will also not require any increase in daily traffic movements.

David Gosling, senior development planner at Banks Mining, says: “Work on the Shotton site is currently progressing ahead of schedule, but whilst we will not reach the area in which the additional coal is located until 2012, we need to move forward with these plans now to minimise the operational impact that recovering it will entail.

“This additional coal was highlighted during the original planning application process for the Shotton site, and we believe there are strong operational, environmental and economic arguments for recovering it.

“Demand remains high for the coal that Shotton is presently producing, and being able to take out two million additional tonnes of high quality coal will avoid it being effectively sterilised, as it would otherwise not be economically viable to recover.

Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, adds: “We have maintained open, productive relationships with the communities around our operational sites in this area since the 1980s, and are committed to continuing to work with them around these new proposals.

“The Shotton surface mine is a large employer in the Cramlington area, and also contributes indirectly to a large number of other regional businesses.

“Our record of operating surface mines to the highest environmental standards is widely recognised both within the industry and also by local authorities, and we are hopeful that the many positive outcomes of granting this request will be recognised by the County Council.”

A planning application is scheduled to be submitted to Northumberland County Council in 2010
- ends -

For further information, please contact Julian Christopher at Footprint Public Relations on 07891 005034

Notes to editors
The Banks Group was founded in 1976 in County Durham.  It now employs 350 people across offices in County Durham, Hamilton and Chesterfield.  It specialises in major projects in the renewable energy, property, surface coal mining and waste management sectors.

Banks’ ‘Development With Care’ approach ensures sites are developed in close consultation with the community as well as carrying out extensive environmental assessments.