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PRIME Site status for Shotton surface mine

IQ PRIME accreditation for Banks Mining

Banks Mining site in Northumberland achieves new PRIME accreditation from Institute of Quarrying

SHOTTON surface mine, operated by Banks Mining near Cramlington, in Northumberland, has become one of the first in the UK to be awarded PRIME (Professional Recognition In Mineral Extraction) certification by The Institute of Quarrying, the extractive industry’s leading professional body, in recognition of the comprehensive provisions the site makes for staff training, leadership and engagement.

The PRIME project aims to promote excellence within the extractives industry by highlighting the importance of continuing professional development (CPD) for staff working within the sector, and the ways in which it can be used to deliver improvements and help introduce new skilled people into the industry.


To reach the required PRIME standard, sites must satisfy an assessment covering eight key areas, including the maintenance of an integrated training and development plan, the provision of CPD for employees, a competency-based approach to recruitment, and active engagement with customers and the local community to promote a highly professional image of their work.

In 2014, Banks Mining made a made a major investment in setting up their own bespoke licensing and training scheme, which extended the training opportunities available to more than 250 operational employees and provided a framework through which skills and career development opportunities could be enhanced to the benefit of both employees and the business. 

The scheme was designed to go beyond current minerals industry standards by offering plant operators the chance to broaden their knowledge and experience in the safe, responsible and efficient ways of working with new site designs, equipment and techniques. As part of the project, Banks Mining invested in both a full-time trainer to lead it and new on-site training facilities at the Shotton site.

The Institute of Quarrying (IQ) is the international professional body for quarrying, construction materials and the related extractive and processing industries, and has more than 6,500 members in 50 countries around the world.

IQ general manager Mike Phillips (left of photo) said: ‘From its conception, some four years ago, PRIME has come a long way and will continue to grow well into the future. Having visited Shotton, I am overwhelmed at the commitment shown to its people and pleased to announce the awarding of the PRIME Site accolade.

‘Without doubt, the biggest asset that our industry has is its people, not only now but the future generations coming into the extractives sector. Continued development, focus and recognition of highly skilled individuals as true professionals is vital, and the PRIME initiative will provide the backbone and tools to help and assist this process.’

Founded in Co. Durham in 1976, The Banks Group employ around 400 people in their surface mining, renewable energy and property development divisions, with more than 200 of them based at the company’s Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane surface mines.

Keith Tarn, human resources manager at The Banks Group, said: ‘Attracting, developing and retaining high-calibre staff, and equipping them with the right range and breadth of skills, is important for any business, but it’s especially crucial in an industry such as ours, where our success is based around ensuring we’re fully up to date with new equipment, designs and techniques.

‘We’ve provided a carefully planned and detailed training programme through which our employees can improve their skills and knowledge, and so develop their careers, while the business benefits from getting an even safer working environment, enhanced productivity, improved staff retention and other operational efficiencies.

‘We know that many companies within the extractives industry took up the challenge of achieving the PRIME accreditation, so becoming one of the first in the UK to actually achieve this award represents a real endorsement and recognition from the sector’s professional body of the provisions we put in place around continuous professional development programmes and employee engagement.’


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