A £615,000 investment is set to help Banks Mining minimise vehicle emissions at its current and planned future operations in Northumberland.
The family-owned firm has taken delivery of three, 27.5 tonne Komatsu WA470-8 loading shovels at its Shotton surface mine near Cramlington, which provide fuel efficiency savings of around 40% compared to similar plants.
The machines, which can carry a load of up to eight tonnes, have been sourced through Marubeni-Komatsu's Chester-le-Street branch, and have been tailored to meet the specific operating requirements at Shotton, with the Komatsu and Banks Mining teams working together to develop detailed production studies to identify the best machines for the work required.
The loading shovels are equipped with a state of the art telemetry system which provide a range of data that will help Banks to monitor and manage the way the machines are being used to help ensure they're performing with maximum efficiency.
The investment has enabled Banks Mining to continue with its policy of working with local suppliers wherever possible, and follows on from a £3.5m investment made in new mobile plant last year through the Boldon branch of Finning (UK), Caterpillar's Peterlee site, and the Scot JCB dealership in Newcastle.
Durham-headquartered Banks Mining has worked in South East Northumberland for more than three decades, and employs around 200 people across its Shotton and nearby Brenkley Lane mining sites.
The two sites contribute around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments and the local supply chain, as well as more than £700,000 in annual business rates to Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council through the two projects.
Robbie Bentham, plant director at Banks Mining, says: "Keeping our plant fleet up to date, ensuring it is working with maximum efficiency and making the right equipment available to our highly-skilled teams are all essential parts of our surface mining operations.
"Working with regionally-based suppliers in this way enables us to maximise our investment in the North East economy, and it's hugely advantageous to have easy access to this expert Komatsu team within our home region."
Arron Mellors, sales manager at Marubeni-Komatsu's Chester-le-Street branch, adds: "We listened to the operational requirements that Banks Mining wanted to fulfil, and carried out a number of site visits and surveys to ensure we were providing exactly the right machine for the job.
"There's a strong relationship between ourselves, Banks Mining and the Komatsu factory at Birtley, and it's good for us as a business to have a client of this size on our doorstep."