A MINING firm says it hopes to protect 150 North-East jobs through plans to extract hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coal from the region.
Banks says it wants to mine about 290,000 additional tonnes of coal at its surface mine in Shotton, Northumberland.
The company has submitted the plans to Northumberland County Council and says it wants to work on an area to the west of its Shotton mine, known as Shotton Triangle.
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The work would take two years, with bosses saying the entire site will be restored by October 2019.
Banks has operated Shotton mine since 2008, and says that, and its Brenkley Lane surface mine, in Newcastle, employs more than 200 workers, contributing about £35m to the region's economy every year.
A decision on the planning application is expected later this year.
Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, says: “Coal will remain a central part of the UK’s energy mix for the foreseeable future, with production from sites such as Shotton and Brenkley Lane being far more desirable than relying on coal imports.”