A FAMILY-OWNED County Durham energy and property company hopes to create “dozen of jobs” at a new coal mine, bosses have revealed.

Banks Group is working towards securing land rights for the Bradley surface mine.

Officials say the site, based between Leadgate and Dipton, near Consett, County Durham, has the potential to deliver 500,000 tonnes of coal and support around 30 new jobs.

The work will be overseen by its Banks Mining division, headquartered at Meadowfield, near Durham City, with work on a new access road anticipated to start in the spring, with mining beginning shortly afterwards.

Mining is earmarked for completion by 2021, with a restoration plan including a new nature reserve and parkland area.

Permission to extract coal from the site was granted to UK Coal a number of years ago, and Lewis Stokes, Banks Group’s community relations manager, said the site represents a significant opportunity for the business.

He said: “Taking on the existing planning approval for the Bradley mine has been identified as one of a number of different options for how we can meet our continuing high customer demand for coal.

“We will ensure local people, businesses and community groups are fully informed of our plans.

Founded in Tow Law in 1976, Banks Mining has operated and restored more than 100 surface mines across Scotland and northern England over the last four decades.

It employs around 200 people at surface mines in Shotton and Brenkley Lane, near Cramlington, in Northumberland.