Work at Broken Cross recommences

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Operations at Scotland’s largest surface coal mine are back underway with more than 100 jobs set to be created.

Broken Cross, near Douglas, ceased operation in April 2013 when previous owners, Scottish Coal, went into administration, leaving considerable concern over the future of the site.

However, South Lanarkshire Council successfully led negotiations with the bond holder for the mine, securing considerable funds to contribute to restoration works.

Now, Hargreaves Surface Mining Ltd, working in partnership with the council, has recommenced operations at the site to deliver restoration work and complete the mining of the remaining coal.

Hargreaves will now engage a workforce from the pool of experienced coal mining operatives throughout the country to utilise the extensive knowledge and capability that the area has, with the restoration and mining project expected to take around three years to complete.

Michael McGlynn, Head of Planning and Building Standards at South Lanarkshire Council, said:  “The Council is delighted to have been able to secure the funds that have enabled site operations at Broken Cross to resume. Hargreaves Surface Mining will create vital employment for the area and, when mining operations are complete, ensure the restoration of the site. It is an encouraging boost as we start 2014.”

Peter Gillatt, Managing Director for Hargreaves Surface Mining Limited said: “This is tremendous news for not only all at Broken Cross and Hargreaves, but also for the wider coal industry which still has a major part to play in all our energy needs.

“Broken Cross has played a major role in the sector in Scotland for many years and to know that the site will be operating again is a huge boost and a true indication that the industry is back in business.

“The proposed revised mining plan will support restoration activities and ensure that the site is left in a safe and stable condition.

“We are grateful to all South Lanarkshire Council for all their assistance in making this possible.”

Professor Russel Griggs, chairman of the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust, said: “To support the restoration of opencast mines that have been abandoned as a result of operators going into administration and liquidation, we engage with stakeholders involved in the process, and work with them to find solutions to the challenges and opportunities the sites of opencast sites can bring.

“The recommencement of work on the Broken Cross site is a very positive development for the local community, especially with the news that over 100 jobs will be created.

“The work being carried out on the site demonstrates what can be achieved when stakeholders and the community work together to deliver a pragmatic approach to restoration.”

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing said: “The announcement that Broken Cross open cast mine has recommenced bringing back 100 much needed jobs to the area is very good news indeed.

“Responsible restoration of sites is a critical component of successful open cast activity and this is a good example of how continuing surface mining operations and securing employment can go hand in hand with progressive restoration of the site.

“I commend the Local Authority and Hargreaves for working together to make this happen. This progress follows a number of positive steps forward which have been achieved following the cross party opencast coal mining taskforce which I have chaired.”

The coal being extracted from Broken Cross will mainly be utilised by Scottish Power at Longannet Power Station.

Hargreaves Surface Mining Limited is now on course to employ over 500 skilled workers throughout Scotland, in less than 12 months since taking over the former Scottish Coal and ATH Resources sites.