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Banks Mining plan new surface mine

Proposed Dewley Hill surface coal mine could create 50 new jobs in the North East

FIFTY new jobs could be created by Banks Mining if plans for a new surface mine on the border between Newcastle and Northumberland are approved.

The Durham-based company is bringing forward proposals for the Dewley Hill surface mine, which would be located on agricultural land to the north of the Throckley junction on the A69 and to the east of the B6326 Ponteland Road, and would run for a period of three-and-a-half years between the start of coaling and the completion of restoration.

Banks, who are looking to extract around 800,000 tonnes of exceptionally high-quality coal from the site, as well as fireclay and other minerals, will be undertaking discussions with local residents over the coming months around how they think the overall development package might achieve the maximum economic, environmental and social benefit for their communities.

A planning application is expected to be submitted for the scheme later this year, with coaling scheduled to begin during 2018 if the project gets the go ahead.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, said: ‘The Dewley Hill site has the potential to support 50 new highly skilled jobs, as well as to open up substantial new opportunities for locally based suppliers, and would extend our long-term record of investing in the communities in which we operate.

‘The coal at Dewley Hill is of an exceptionally high quality, and we are certain that there will be real demand for both it and the other minerals that we would be mining there over what would be a very short time frame for a scheme of this type.’

He continued: ‘All our operations are specifically designed to bring a wide range of economic, employment, social and supply chain benefits to the communities in which they’re based, and while we have some ideas on how these benefits might be realized through the Dewley Hill scheme, we’re very much open to hearing more from local people.’

Ideas that have been put forward so far include measures to reduce the flooding risks posed to local communities from the nearby Ouse Burn and Dewley Burn, and enhancement of local heritage assets such as the historic wagon ways which are surviving examples of the rich mining heritage in the region.

The Dewley Hill scheme is located in an area where UK Coal put forward a larger surface mine proposal more than 15 years ago, and Banks Mining say they have already moved to address the concerns that led to that proposal being turned down.

The family-owned firm, which previously worked and restored a smaller surface mine scheme at Dewley Hill in the 1990s, currently employs more than 200 people at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington, and its North East mining operations already contribute around £35 million to the regional economy every year through wages, investments, business rates and the local supply chain.

‘As a North East company with four decades of surface mining experience, we have the skills and experience required to work the Dewley Hill site in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible way,’ said Mr Dowdall.

‘We work hard to include local people, groups and community leaders in the development, operation and restoration of all our surface mines, providing them with the opportunity to contribute their views throughout the design process, so that they can be factored into the final design we submit for planning approval.’

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