Surface mine hits million tonne mark

Shotton Surface Mine where Banks have extracted one million tonnes.
Shotton Surface Mine where Banks have extracted one million tonnes.

A surface mine team in south east Northumberland is celebrating after hitting a major production milestone.

For the first time in Banks Mining’s 38-year history, one million tonnes of coal has been extracted from one of its sites within the company’s financial year.

Banks Mining has invested heavily in equipment, training and systems efficiencies at the Shotton site, which is located on the Blagdon Estate near Cramlington, since work began there in 2008.

The coal taken from Shotton represents around eight per cent of the total amount mined annually across the UK, with 13 million tonnes produced from indigenous surface and deep mines in the last year, compared to the 49 million imported tonnes.

The Shotton site is scheduled to remain in production until 2018, with full restoration set to be completed during the following year.

The coal produced from it in the last year met the annual electricity consumption needs of over 417,000 homes.

Neil Cook, site manager at Shotton, said: “There are 150 people working at this site, and every single one of them, from the management and engineers to the plant operators, is very proud of this achievement – to extract that much coal in such a short period has been a tremendous team effort.”

Gavin Styles, executive director at Banks Mining, added: “I am incredibly proud of the achievement made at Shotton by Neil and his team.

“Everyone involved with Shotton has worked hard over the last year to improve productivity and have also done so in the right way.

“The efficiency improvements have been underpinned by a continued improvement in our health and safety performance and we have continued to meet and exceed the environmental performance standards we have at Shotton.

“The coal we produce at Shotton provides substantial numbers of jobs, supports domestic industry and electricity generation, creates capital for investment in community projects, heats homes and helps to provide a source of indigenous coal that reduces reliance on imports.

“Our people are obviously the biggest factor in our success, and the investments we’ve made in improving their skills, enhancing communications systems, working with our local suppliers and providing the best available equipment for the job are paying clear dividends.”