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First Coal Leaves Bradley Surface Mine

Work at the new Bradley surface mine in County Durham has reached its latest landmark after the first coal to be mined was dispatched from the site.

North East employer Banks Mining formally commenced the winning and working of minerals in May at its latest surface mine, which sits off the A692 between Leadgate and Dipton, and has since been putting the infrastructure required in place to enable mining operations to progress.

Thirty-four jobs are being directly supported at the Bradley site, alongside others in the local supply chain. Around half of those working there live within five miles of the site, with almost all living within a 15 mile radius.

The coal that has so far been produced has been supplied to a number of Banks Mining’s industrial customers around the UK.

The restoration of the site will include the creation of new woodland and a nature reserve area, as well as the return of some of the land to agricultural use, while the related community benefits fund, which will provide funding for support eligible local community improvement projects and initiatives, will go live in the next few months.

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The UK still requires coal to meet a range of essential industrial uses, including steel and cement production, as well as for household and electricity generation needs and there is strong demand from our customers for the high quality coal that is now being produced at the Bradley site.

“The Banks Group has been creating highly-skilled and well-paid jobs in County Durham and around the North East for more than 40 years, and we are proud to be living up to our commitment to create even more new local job opportunities through this project, most especially for the young people who are taking their first steps on the career ladder.

“It undoubtedly remains in the national interest to continue to invest in skilled mining jobs in North East England, instead of supporting jobs in and increasing our already substantial reliance on overseas coal imports from locations such as Russia and the US, and by doing so, to enhance our domestic energy security position and contribute positively to the UK’s balance of payments.

“Work is continuing to progress well at our Bradley site, with a local highly-skilled and growing workforce now in place, and we remain fully committed to operating the site in the safest, most efficient and most environmentally responsible way possible.”

Founded in Tow Law, County Durham in 1976, Banks Mining has operated and restored 111 surface mines across Scotland and northern England over the last four decades, and currently employs around 200 people at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington in Northumberland.