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Cramlington, UK: Performance studies have shown that repair and refurbishment can increase the life of heavy plant equipment for around 60% of the cost of a new replacement. The decision to repair rather than replace heavy plant equipment is a preference made by most businesses in the industry and this is no exception for Banks Mining at its Shotton Surface Mine.

Banks Mining currently has three working surface coal mines – Shotton and the nearby Brenkley Lane in south east Northumberland and Bradley in County Durham.

Part of the County Durham-headquartered Banks Group, Banks Mining has been developing, operating and restoring surface coal mines in a modern, safe, responsible and efficient way throughout the north of England and Scotland to the highest possible standards for more than four decades.

Banks Mining have been extracting coal at Shotton since 2008 and currently mines around one million tonnes of coal per year.  With a daily output of up to 190 coal wagons, the Shotton site is operating at maximum capacity. Maintaining the high output levels requires an extensive and well planned maintenance schedule particularly for the mine’s fleet of dump trucks and 14 CAT 785 skips, which are used to move overburden in the mine. Over time the skip is exposed to heavy wear and tear and to extend the lifespan of their fleet Banks Mining have initiated a refurbishment programme.

The first stage of the fleet refurbishment programme was to complete a full overhaul of a 150t CAT 785 skip. This task fell to local mining and construction attachment specialist Miller UK, who have over forty years of experience in the mining repairs sector. Miller UK’s dedicated repair centre, headed up by Conor Thompson have developed a bespoke overhaul programme specifically for Banks Mining which included a comprehensive full dumper body inspection and a scheduled overhaul timeframe in only eight weeks.

“This was a big job with lots of challenges and we have used all of our expertise to carry out a full overhaul of the skip to meet the specific site requirements for Banks.  The body design has been optimised for maximising wear ability, strength and reliability over the lifetime of the skip,” said Miller’s Specialist Products Division Manager, Conor Thompson. “Our customers count on our dependability and expertise and we take great pride in delivering on our commitments,” he added.

During the eight week refurbishment the CAT 785 skip overhaul included a full internal reline, new external panels, canopy, duck tail and undersides manufactured with high strength steel and lined with Hardox. In addition to the replacement of key structural points of the body, there was severe cracking on most underside bolsters which were gouged out and re-welded before the skip was fully painted. Upon completion, the newly installed lifting points where fully checked and certified before  the skip was lifted by two 60t cranes provided by Mammoet onto a low loader provided by Hubbway Hire and escorted back to the coal mine in Northumberland.

Thanks to Miller, Banks Mining was able to reduce machine downtime and get the 150t machine promptly back into action. “This was a large and complex repair and it made sense for us to use Miller’s expertise for this project. They offered us a free onsite inspection as well as an impressively quick turnaround, which has helped us to reduce our downtime”, said Andrew Palmer, plant supervisor at Banks Mining. “Miller offers a fantastic repair service and boasts a wide skill-set, while it’s also a positive for us that they are  a fellow north east company, as working with them ties in with our policy of investing in the local supply chain wherever possible’. We have been so happy with the job that they have done, we got a second CAT 785 skip collected by Miller and work has begun for another full overhaul,” he added.


Notes for editors

  • Banks Mining is a major coal producer in the UK, having successfully operated and restored over 111 surface mines over 40 years, and has extensive experience of successfully running mining operations
  • Banks Mining mines coal safely, responsibly and efficiently in the UK
  • Coal is a valuable mineral resource used in a variety of different ways Eg domestic heat generation, coke manufacture, blast furnaces for iron and steel manufacture, food production, cement manufacture, patent fuel manufacture, carbon fibre product manufacture and other uses. The mean average from 2007 to 2016: 9.3 million tonnes.  Source: Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2017, table 2.4, available at and see: for figures for amount of coal used for industrial purposes, ie non electricity generation purposes in the UK between 1992 and 2016
  • Whilst the country develops a range of alternative ways to generate power it is essential that the supply of indigenous coal is maintained.  Coal is a vital bridge to the low carbon economy.
  • Currently the UK imports over 70% of the coal used to generate electricity in the UK from Russia, Colombia, the USA and Australia.  In previous years it has been more than 80.  See:, page 12, Table 2A Coal imports by origin.
  • In 2014 the net cost to the UK of these coal imports was around £1.8bn. In 2013 it was £2.7bn. In 2015 it was £730m.  The table below gives the values of UK coal production and imports for 2010 to 2015.

Source: Energy: Chapter 1, Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES), Table 1.4 Value balance of traded energy in 2015, page 32, July 2016, available at:

  • Banks Mining is part of the Banks Group, a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs over 300 people in the surface mining, renewable energy and property sectors. The company’s development with care approach underpins all community consultation and ensures environmental excellence
  • For more information about Shotton surface coal mine please see:
  • For more information about The Banks Group please see:
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