Major North East employer Banks Mining has completed its first ever export order for coal produced by its Northumberland operations.
Four thousand tonnes of coal produced at Banks’ Shotton surface mine near Cramlington has been loaded into a vessel at the Port of Blyth and transported to an industrial customer in Spain.
And the Durham-headquartered firm, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is now pursuing other opportunities to supply overseas customers both within and outside mainland Europe.
Banks Mining has worked in South East Northumberland for more than three decades, and currently employs around 200 people across the Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane mining sites.
The two sites contribute around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain, with the coal produced being used by a range of customers for a variety of industrial, domestic and power generation purposes.
Michael Storey, sales and quality manager at Banks Mining, says: “The coal we produce in Northumberland is of a very high and consistent quality, capable of meeting the demands of overseas markets and having investigated which export markets we might target with it, we believe there are considerable overseas opportunities for us to work towards alongside our domestic operations.
“The excellent service standards that we have provided consistently for many years to a variety of UK customers along with our competitive pricing structure for a high quality product that is produced at two mines working to the highest environmental management standards in the world provides an overall offering that we believe will have great appeal to our target audience.
“Fulfilling an export order presents different logistical challenges to our usual operations, but our highly-skilled and professional team completed the task in their usual safe, responsible and efficient manner.
“The coal we produce at our Northumberland sites sustains substantial numbers of North East jobs, supports British industry and electricity generation, creates considerable capital for investment in community improvement projects, heats homes across the UK and helps to provide a responsible and reliable source of indigenous coal that reduces domestic reliance on imports from potentially unstable overseas markets.”
Martin Lawlor, chief executive at the Port of Blyth, adds: “We’re delighted to support Banks Group with this landmark export project. The variety of cargoes travelling both in and out of the Port of Blyth is growing all the time and we look forward to handling further exports for the Banks Group in the future.”