Plans to mine around 290,000 additional tonnes of coal at a North East surface mine which will help sustain around 150 local jobs have been submitted for consideration by Northumberland County Council.
Regional employer Banks Mining is looking to work an additional area on the western side of its existing Shotton surface mine, in the south east of the county, which it has named ShottonTriangle.
The extraction will take two years, running concurrently with the existing site, and no overall extension of time would be required. Restoration of the entire Shotton site is scheduled to be carried out by October 2019.
Late last year, Banks held a public exhibition to discuss its plans with local people.
The company has been successfully operating the Shotton mine since 2008, and, along with the its nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine, currently contributes around £35m to the regional economy every year, as well as employing more than 200 people across the two sites.
Shotton and Brenkley Lane already contribute more than £400,000 in business rates every year, and if the Shotton Triangle plans are approved, it would enable Banks to extend the support it provides for local facilities through its Banks Community Fund, which has already seen £700,000 given to community groups, environmental projects and other good causes in Northumberland over the last nine years.
A decision on the planning application is expected later in the year.
Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, said: “The discussions we’ve had with local people and community leaders about this project have been very encouraging, andthe enduring positive impact it would have in terms of local employment, supply chain support, community funding and environmental improvements have been widely appreciated.
“The Shotton surface mine operates in a safe, responsible and efficient way, and enables us to make significant, long-term contributions to both the local and regional economy which we want to develop even further.
“Coal will remain a central part of the UK’s energy mix for the foreseeable future, with production from appropriate domestic sites such as Shotton and Brenkley Lane being far more desirable than relying on imports of coal.
“We have worked successfully in this part of Northumberland for more than three decades, and the Shotton Triangle scheme will help us reinforce our position as one of the county’s largest private-sector employers.”