Mine visitors look beyond the surface

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mining industry bosses have paid a visit to south east Northumberland to find out more about how surface mines are run here with a view to raising standards back home.

The Banks Group hosted a tour of its Shotton opencast mine, west of Cramlington, for members of the European Union’s India coal working group.

The County Durham-based firm’s planning director, Philip Baker, and projects director, Barney Pilgrim, gave a presentation on best practice in surface mining, with particular emphasis on the environmental standards it adheres to.

The delegates travelled up from their conference venue in Leeds the day after that talk to look around the 300-hectare Shotton site and to also visit the £3m Northumberlandia earth sculpture created out of the mine’s spoilheaps.

Mr Baker said: “It was a real honour for us to be invited to talk about them in front of such a high-level audience.

“The mining industry operates on a far greater scale in many parts of the world than we work to in the UK, especially in India, where it’s not uncommon for up to 55 million tonnes of coal to be taken from the biggest surface mines in a year, compared to the 800,000 tonnes that come from the Shotton site in the same period.”