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Banks Mining commence Ponesk restoration

Ponesk surface mine restoration

Company awarded contract for restoration of former Scottish Coal opencast site near Muirkirk

BANKS Mining have been appointed by East Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust to carry out the restoration of the former Ponesk surface mine, near the town of Muirkirk.

The Ponesk site, along with the adjacent Spireslack surface mine, was abandoned when former operators Scottish Coal went into administration in the early part of 2013.

The Banks Mining team started work in early July and is expected to be on site for around 22 months.

The restoration project has been designed to maximize opportunities for the future use of the site, and will see the creation of a new landscape across the site which is in keeping with the local area by reshaping Ponesk’s steep-sided mounds, sharp gradients and wide terraces.

A number of new footpaths and tracks will be created to provide improved public access to the site, along with a range of wildlife habitats, while the restoration design also incorporates a series of measures to address the risk of off-site pollution from existing water bodies.

Restoration work on the Spireslack site will follow once the Ponesk project has been completed.

Michael Keane, head of planning at East Ayrshire Council, added: ‘This appointment is good news for the area and the local community. Banks Mining have a proven record of delivering restoration projects across the country and East Ayrshire Council is delighted to be working with them to progress with the restoration of the Ponesk opencast site.

‘With the work already under way at Netherton and Dunstonhill, and soon to start at Skares, it is good to see real progress being made on the restoration of the opencast sites across East Ayrshire.’

Jim Donnelly, operations director at Banks Mining, said: ‘Issues surrounding the restoration of abandoned surface mine sites across Scotland have been high on the news agenda, especially in the areas where these sites are located.

‘As someone who grew up in this part of Ayrshire, it saddens me to see the way large swathes of the county have been left in this situation, and the work we’re now undertaking at Ponesk will begin the process of returning this land to the local community.

‘Banks Mining have successfully restored every single one of the 110 mines they’ve finished working over the last four decades, and our technical expertise, the quality of the design solution we developed for Ponesk and the cost-effective way in which we can put it into place will enable us to successfully deliver the positive outcomes that local people, the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust and East Ayrshire Council are all looking for.’

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