Oct 28, 2020

Banks Mining ends four-year coal fight at Highthorn

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Decision comes after government rejects controversial plan for coal in Northumberland for a second time
Decision comes after government rejects controversial plan for coal in Northumberland for a second time...

Mining bosses have conceded defeat over plans to dig for coal in Northumberland after the government last month rejected a Banks Mining scheme at Highthorn, near Druridge Bay, for a second time.

According to a report by Chronicle Live, the company will not challenge the decision. 

The company said the mine would create at least 100 well-paid, full-time jobs, resulting in investment of around £100 million into the Northumberland economy and see supply chain contracts worth a total of £48 million to locally based businesses. But environmental campaigners said it would harm the local environment and worsen climate change.

Plans were approved by a planning inspector and then rejected by then Communities Secretary Sajid Javid. Banks Mining then won a High Court bid to challenge that decision, which was rejected in September.

In a statement issued on behalf of Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, the decision to reject the plans was explained as being due to the "substantial extent of the landscape harm means that the proposal is still not environmentally acceptable, nor can it be made so by planning conditions or obligations".

Gavin Styles, executive director at Banks Mining, says: "In order to build back better, we need something to build with! We remain firm in our conviction that, while British industry still needs essential minerals like coal, fireclay, and brick shale, they should be mined in the UK in the most environmentally responsible way possible.

“However, having carefully considered the Secretary of State’s purely political and deeply disappointing decision to reject our Highthorn planning application, we have concluded that issuing a challenge to it would not be the right course of action.

“This has been a difficult conclusion for us to reach as we are hugely proud of the exemplary work of our highly-skilled team, know that there will be substantial domestic demand for these minerals for many years to come and are only too aware of the impact that the Secretary of State’s misguided decision will have on many lives and businesses across our region."

Although it has decided not to take its case for Highthorn any further, Banks Mining has reaffirmed its commitment to pursuing the proposed Dewley Hill surface mine to the west of Newcastle, which is expected to come before the city council’s planning committee before the end of the year, the report adds.

Styles said: “We hear a great deal of Government talk about ‘levelling up’ the regional economy, but it is the likes of ourselves and other North East employers that actually take the responsibility for creating the jobs that are central to achieving this goal, and we hope Newcastle City Council will support our continuing job creation ambitions at Dewley Hill."

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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