University of Derby students visit Shotton Surface Mine

Students learn how operations are developed and managed at biggest surface mine in the North East

Around 20 students from the University of Derby’s Mineral Products Centre visited Banks Mining’s Shotton surface mine, near Cramlington, in Northumberland, to see for themselves how a modern surface mine operates.

Organized by the Institute of Quarrying (IQ) and the University, the visit examined the work done on site by Banks’ team of geologists and engineers, including the ways in which coal is mined and how the land is restored and landscaped during and after mining operations.

The students were taken on a tour of the Shotton site to view the health, safety and environmental protection measures that Banks Mining have put in place, and also visited the nearby Northumberlandia landform, which was formed by Banks Mining using 1.5 million tonnes of carefully selected stone, clay and soil taken from the Shotton site.

Shotton surface mine
Credit: Tom Brodie

"Study tours are a fantastic way of engaging with our peers across the industry, expanding our understanding and appreciation of our sector, and getting a first-hand view of the huge advances in extraction techniques, machinery, technology and production.

Shotton is a very busy site and provided our group with an extremely useful opportunity to see lots of different aspects of its operation taking place.

Northumberlandia provides a fantastic example of site restoration and just shows what can be achieved at this sort of site with some creative thinking."

Julian Smallshaw, IQ’s Head of Education and leader of the visit


"We’re always happy to share our experience with our peers in the extractive industries, and pleased that our visitors found their time on site both interesting and useful.

A great deal of detailed planning goes into the work we do in south-east Northumberland, from designing a site through to its restoration both during and after mining operations, and we have a highly skilled team in place whose expertise ensures that our Shotton and Brenkley Lane sites operate as safely, responsibly and efficiently as possible."

Jim Donnelly, Operations Director at Banks Mining


"I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the study tour and the education that came with it. It was an amazing chance to see parts of the industry and site I may never see again. It was a fantastic learning opportunity which has helped me greatly towards my studies and career. I’d I’d love to go again if I get the chance."

Tom Brodie, student on the study tour

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