Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Revenue Boost for Contentious Open-Cast Mine Firm

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Revenue Boost for Contentious Open-Cast Mine Firm

Article excerpt

Byline: Graemewhitfield Business editor @Graemewhitfield

ANORTH East company embroiled in a long-running battle over an potential open cast mine in the region has reported a rise in pre-tax profits.

County Durham property and energy firm The Banks Group has marked its 40th anniversary year by reporting profit before tax of PS14m for the financial year ending on 1 October 2017, up from PS6m in the previous financial year. Revenues rose to PS95m, up from PS74m last year.

The company saw its property division increase sales by PS1m to PS24m and announced its first residential development in North Yorkshire, while its mining business saw turnover improve from PS34m in 2016 to PS53m in 2017, with its performance is expected to remain robust in the year to come.

The company also has a renewable energy division, though lower wind speeds and reduced commercial power prices meant that turnover for the division fell by PS1m to PS14m compared to the previous financial year.

Banks is currently embroiled in a battle with the Government over plans for an open cast mine at Highthorn, near Widdrington in Northumberland, which were rejected by then Environment Secretary Sajid Javid in March after initial approval by Northumberland County Council in 2016.

Banks Mining is challenging that decision at the High Court, saying the decision could have far-reaching consequences for hydrocarbon and mineral extraction industries and major transport infrastructure developments that could significantly impact on UK industry's competitiveness.

Banks says the Highthorn scheme would create 100 full-time jobs on the site and boost Northumberland's economy by PS87m.

The scheme won some local backing but has come up against strong opposition from environment campaigners who sought to protect the landscape from the development. …

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