A FAMILY owned North-East mining and rewable energy firm is expanding its operations after reporting increased annual profits. 

Banks Group has reported a profit before tax of £7m up from £6.4m in 2012 to the end of September last year.

The Durham City-based group employs more than 420 people across the region and in Scotland. Coal production totalled 1.4 million tonnes from its three operational sites, and it increased onshore wind farm capacity as well as seeing significant improvement in trading from its property development portfolio. 

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Richard Dunkley, Banks' group financial director, said: "As a family-owned North East business, we are proud that our North-East mining operations contribute more than £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain, and with more than 200 of our staff working at our Shotton and Brenkley Lane sites, we are one of Northumberland’s largest private-sector employers. 

“Coal remains a central part of the company’s medium/long-term commercial strategy, with plans progressing to increase production at our two North East surface mines, and investigations ongoing into further possible sites in the region," he added.