Tag Archives: Banks Mining

Komatsu PC3000-6 excavator finds its way to Banks Mining’s Bradley coal mine

Banks Mining says it has made a six-figure (£) equipment investment at its Bradley open-pit coal mine in County Durham, UK.

The firm has acquired a Komatsu PC3000-6 excavator for use at the Bradley site, following the good service of a similar machine at its Shotton open-pit coal mine in Northumberland, also in the UK.

The 254-t excavator had previously been operating at the Hinkley Point nuclear power station development site in Somerset, UK, before being moved to Banks Mining’s depot at Thrislington in County Durham, and then taken the 23 miles (37 km) to the Bradley site to be rebuilt by a pair of 200-t cranes.

“In line with The Banks Group’s ‘development with care’ approach, the excavator uses a single V12 engine, which is a similar power output to that of rival twin-engine machines while using less fuel,” the company said.

Komatsu has recruited a locally-based service engineer to be based permanently on site and has also placed a stock of consumable parts at Bradley to ensure the excavator is kept working for the maximum time possible, according to Banks Mining.

“Forty-one jobs are being directly supported at the Bradley site, alongside others in the local supply chain, and the coal that has so far been produced has been supplied to a number of Banks Mining’s industrial customers around the UK,” the company said.

The family-owned firm recently announced plans to extract around 100,000 t of high-quality coal for supply to UK industrial customers from land to the west of the Bradley site, which it is aiming to complete within the same timescale to which the existing site is operating.

Robbie Bentham (pictured), Plant Director at Banks Mining, said: “Giving our highly-skilled teams, the equipment they need to work our sites in the safest, most efficient and most environmentally responsible way possible is an essential part of our overall operational strategy.

“The Komatsu excavator based at Shotton has surpassed our expectations in terms of mechanical availability and we are seeing similarly impressive results at Bradley.”

The Bradley coal operation was initially expected to recover around 500,000 t of coal over its lifetime, with completion expected in 2021.

Banks Mining restores abandoned Scottish Coal sites

Two of Scotland’s largest abandoned open-pit coal mines have been restored, five years after they were left abandoned when operator Scottish Coal went into administration.

The excavation and re-profiling of more than 6 Mt of rock and soil for the restoration of the Ponesk and Spireslack mines near Muirkirk, in East Ayrshire, took a 15-strong, predominantly local team from Banks Mining just over two years to complete.

New footpaths and tracks have been created to provide improved public access to the site. As a result of the team’s work, what was a huge ugly scar on the landscape of the Muirkirk/Glenbuck valley has been transformed and now sits in sympathy with the wider landscape of the area – safely accessible to local people, Banks Mining said.

Banks is a is a major coal producer in the UK, having successfully operated and restored over 111 surface mines over 42 years. For this project, it was working on behalf of East Ayrshire Council and the non-profit organisation Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT).

Michael Keane, Head of Planning and Economic Development at East Ayrshire Council, said: “We are making steady progress in terms of restoration across all of the remaining open-cast sites, and the completion of work at Ponesk/Spireslack is welcome news. Given the scale of the works required to be undertaken, Banks Mining have done a commendable job in creating a landscape which over time will develop in keeping with its surroundings. Our primary objective is to ensure these sites are secured and made safe for the public to access, and this has been achieved.”

Jim Donnelly, operations director at Banks Mining, said: “Looking at the site now you’d be hard pushed to envisage how it was when we took it on. It has taken an extraordinary effort by our highly experienced team to take an unsightly derelict surface mine that had been an eyesore for many years and transform it into what we see today.”