Northumberland-based members of a rural business organisation have been on site at a surface mine in the county to find out more about how its operators work with landowners.
A party from the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA) visited Banks Mining’s Shotton surface mine near Cramlington to see for themselves how it operates and examine the work done on site by the Banks team.
The Institute represents and supports hundreds of farm and rural business administrators across the UK, while promoting excellence in farm business administration.
The IAgSA party, which included representatives from across Northumberland, heard presentations on subjects such as how the land used for the mine is managed and restored.
They also learned more about the creation of the nearby Northumberlandia landform, which was created using 1.5m tonnes of carefully selected stone, clay and soil taken from the Shotton mine.
Banks employs over 200 people across the Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine sites, contributing around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain.
Daphne Henderson, a member of the Northumberland branch of IAgSA who was part of the visiting party, said: “All our members know this area well and travel past the Shotton site regularly, so getting the chance to see what it was like from the inside was a great opportunity for our group, and the feedback I’ve had has been really positive.
“The relationships that our members have with commercial partners such as Banks have a great impact on the success of the businesses that they help to run, and the Institute aims to help them gain new insights through events like this which will assist them in their daily work.”
Situated on the Blagdon Estate, the Shotton surface mine site covers around 342 hectares, from which approximately 5.4m tonnes of coal are to be recovered.
It is one of more than 100 surface mines operated by the Banks Group and, in itself, supports more than 150 jobs.
Banks Mining is part of the Banks Group, which was founded in 1976 in County Durham and now employs over 420 people in total.
The company, which says it is committed to mining coal in the most sustainable way possible, endeavours to work in close consultation with communities near its operations.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, added: “Whilst providing an essential indigenous source of energy for the UK, surface coal mining also creates an opportunity to work with landowners to deliver landscape improvements, to enhance the biodiversity and to improve the agricultural quality or the amenity value of the land, and it was useful to show the IAgSA visitors how this is being put into practice at our Shotton surface coal mine.”