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.