Community leaders from the county have been given a first-hand view of the progress being made at two surface mines in the area.
Councillors spent the day with UK Coal to see the Potland Burn site near Ashington, UK Coal’s largest operational mine, and Butterwell surface mine near Linton.
Councillors Alan Sambrook, Brian Gallacher, Paul Kelly, Vicky Brown and Louis Brown visited Potland Burn alongside site manager Peter Millar.
They were told operations and restoration are around six months ahead of schedule.
Once on site they saw how work has rapidly moved away from neighbouring properties and had been returned to green fields and tree planting within three years.
The group then went to the Butterwell mine, where site manager Trevor Meek showed them how the mine sites are worked within tight constraints, as the operation is bordered by the East Coast Main Line to the west, and the mineral railway line to the north and east.
The group saw how modern surface mines are worked to strict environmental standards and with careful consideration to nature.
Many comments were made regarding the significant employment the industry provides in the area, as well as the impressive commitment to training young people through apprenticeship schemes.
Around 150 people are employed between the two sites as plant operators, fitters, engineers and administrators.