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Trust welcomes proposals

Banks plans to restore abandoned mine

Russel Griggs
Griggs: welcomes plans

Banks Mining has lodged a proposal with East Ayrshire Council to restore a long-abandoned open cast mine.

The Spireslack site was left untouched when former operator Scottish Coal went into administration in early 2013.

Banks wants to embark on a restoration of the site which is adjacent to Ponesk surface mine, a transformation project which is also being undertaken by the company.

Jim Donnelly, operations director at Banks Mining, is delighted with the progress at Ponesk and hopeful that the firm will be given the opportunity to finally restore Spireslack.

He said: “For the local community, Spireslack is an unfortunate reminder of Scottish Coal’s legacy and they simply want to see the land return to its previous state.

“Unfortunately, a lack of funding precludes a complete restoration but, similar to Ponesk, we have designed a scheme to provide maximum improvements from the limited resource available.

“It would also allow us to offer continued employment, as we would look to deploy the team of around 15 highly skilled and experienced restoration experts that have worked hard to transform conditions at Ponesk.” 

The restoration project has been designed to maximise opportunities for the future use of the site, and will see the creation of a new landscape across the site which is in keeping with the local area by reshaping Spireslack’s steep sided mounds, sharp gradients and wide terraces.

The Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT), an independent non-profit making organisation, was established to help facilitate the process of communities and other stakeholders in restoring abandoned open-cast coal sites across Scotland to bring together viable restoration plans for them. 

Professor Russel Griggs, chairman of the Trust, said: “This development is a significant step forward in the restoration of the Spireslack site.

“Since the site was left abandoned following the collapse of Scottish Coal, we have been at the core of the restoration planning process, working with all stakeholders involved to find solutions to the challenges this site presents to the surrounding community.

“We look forward to working with Banks to further implement a pragmatic and innovative approach to the restoration of the site.”


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