PLANS to extend work at a North-East surface mine have move a step closer.
Banks wants to continue work at its Brenkley Lane site, near Newcastle, and has identified a 14-hectare area to mine a further 500,000 tonnes of coal.
The company submitted a planning application last year to Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council, with Newcastle officers now recommending it for approval.
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Mining bosses say the work will not require an extension of the site’s timescale, with the area expected to be fully restored by 2021.
Brenkley Lane has operated since 2010 and bosses say alongside Banks' surface mine in Shotton, Northumberland, it contributes about £35m to the region's economy every year.
More than 200 people work across the two sites.
Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, said: “The work we’re looking to undertake at Brenkley Lane will provide continuity of employment and additional revenues.
"Those revenues will go towards significant improvements of local community facilities.”