Public to get say on surface mine plan

The site of the proposed new Banks surface mine in south east Northumberland.
The site of the proposed new Banks surface mine in south east Northumberland.

A public consultation into a proposed surface mine in south east Northumberland is set to start.

Banks Mining, which created Northumberlandia near Cramlington as part of its Shotton surface mine, is bringing forward proposals for a possible new surface mining project at Highthorn near Druridge Bay.

Banks said it is a project it believes could offer real and lasting regeneration opportunities for the surrounding area.

The company added that initial proposals suggest it would sustain more than 150 local jobs for over a decade.

Katie Perkin, communications manager at The Banks Group, said: “As a north east employer that has worked in Northumberland for more than 30 years, we know the area extremely well, and with its proximity to the popular beach and wildlife attractions at Druridge Bay, we understand that the Highthorn proposal is a unique and sensitive location.

“Our planned investment has the potential to offer so much to both local people and visitors to the area, and we are therefore announcing our intentions at the earliest possible opportunity to start a dialogue with local residents, businesses, tourism bodies and visitors, so that we can understand their views better and enable them to have a direct influence on the site’s design and the benefits it will bring to the area.

“We want the Highthorn site to set a new benchmark for modern minerals developments, delivering significant economic input alongside substantial benefits for the local community and wildlife alike, and our absolute priority is to design a scheme that delivers tangible, long-term local and regional economic, environmental and social benefits from day one of the project.”

Banks said it is investigating improvements to address local environmental and community issues, but a planning application is not expected until at 2014.