Miners at Shotton surface mine in South East Northumberland have extracted one million tonnes of coal in a year.
It is the first time in Durham-headquartered Banks Mining’s 38-year history the milestone has been achieved within one financial year.
The 150-strong workforce at Shotton reached the one million tonne mark by September following significant investment from Banks in equipment, training and systems efficiences.
Work began in 2008 at the Shotton site, which is located on the Blagdon Estate. The Coal taken from Shotton represents 8% of the total amount mined annually across the UK with 13 million tonnes produced from indigenous surface and deep mines in the last year - compared with the 49m tonnes that were imported.
The Shotton site is scheduled to remain in production until 2018, with full restoration set to be completed during the following year, and the coal produced from it in the last year was enough to meet the annual electricity consumption needs of over 417,000 homes.
Neil Cook, site manager at Shotton since the start of operations, said: “There are 150 people working at this site, and every single one of them, from the management and engineers to the plant operators, is very proud of this achievement - to extract that much coal in such a short period has been a tremendous team effort.”
Gavin Styles, executive director at Banks Mining, added: “I am incredibly proud of the achievement made at Shotton by Neil and his team. Everyone involved with Shotton has worked hard over the last year to improve productivity and have also done so in the right way.
“The efficiency improvements have been underpinned by a continued improvement in our health and safety performance and we have continued to meet and exceed the environmental performance standards we have at Shotton.
“The coal we produce at Shotton provides substantial numbers of jobs for local people, supports domestic industry and electricity generation, creates considerable capital for investment in community improvement projects, heats homes across our region and helps to provide a responsible and reliable source of indigenous coal that reduces the UK’s reliance on imports.
“Coal is responsible for generating around 40% of the energy that we all use in homes, schools, hospitals, offices and factories, and will remain central to the UK’s energy mix for the foreseeable future, so the more that can be produced from appropriate domestic sources, the more economic, employment and environmental benefits we will accrue.”