Visit proves to be a mine of information

Morpeth Rotary visit'�1.6m excavator and (L-R) George Brown, Brian Gott, Michael Duffy, Tony Stubbs and Pauline Duffy.

Morpeth Rotary visit'�1.6m excavator and (L-R) George Brown, Brian Gott, Michael Duffy, Tony Stubbs and Pauline Duffy.

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MEMBERS of a Morpeth community group donned hard hats as they were given a look around the Shotton surface mine.

The three-hour visit to the Banks Group facility near Blagdon was carried out by 12 members of Morpeth Rotary Club.

It started with a full briefing by Director of Mining Jim Donnelly.

The site is 110 metres deep and 40 per cent of the coal is used locally at Alcan. Much of the rest goes to the Yorkshire power stations at Drax and the Aire Valley, although some is also sent to Finland.

For every ton of coal, 40 tonnes of rock has to be moved. Dumper trucks that can take 50 tonnes can cost £795,000 and excavators cost £1.6million each.

The group saw these impressive vehicles during their tour.

The club’s Vocational Service Committee Chairman Peter Scott, himself a civil engineer, said: “The trip included information about the site’s history, archaeology, expensive and up to date industrial machinery, five and half million tonnes of coal, transport co-ordination measured in seconds, workshops, explosives, monitoring and assessment of impact, sandstone and chippings, fireclay, railway links, a wildlife pillar for bats, the Northumberlandia public sculpture and the creation of green walks and landscapes.

“Harry Banks’ son, Kevin, even took time off to show us round, along with his colleague Mr Arkwright.”

For more information about the club, including future meetings and visits, telephone Kevin Dunlop on 01670 512775 or John Pringle on 01670 513175.