Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 10:47 UK

New opencast mine seeks approval

Coal conveyor belt
The coal from the mine would be transported by conveyor belt

Plans for a new opencast coal mine in southern Scotland have been recommended for approval.

ATH Resources announced its proposals for the Rigg site near Kirkconnel last year with the promise of 100 jobs.

The 1.3m tonnes of coal to be extracted would be transported by extending a special eight-mile "conveyor belt".

The plans will go to the Scottish Government for a final decision but Dumfries and Galloway Council planning officers have recommended approval.

Last year ATH launched its conveyor belt between the Glenmuckloch open cast mine - also near Kirkconnel - and a railhead at New Cumnock in Ayrshire.

Concerns expressed

The belt, which cost almost 10m to build, has replaced 50,000 lorry journeys undertaking two million road miles a year.

Now the company hopes to expand its operations with the nearby Rigg development.

It would see 1.3m tonnes of coal extracted and have an operational life of about two years.

A further two years of restoration works would be required after mining ceases.

All the coal mined at the site would be transported by the giant conveyor belt.

The company said the plans would create 104 direct jobs and about 135 indirectly.

Concerns have been expressed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) over the possibilities of a flood risk while Scottish Natural Heritage wants conditions imposed to protect water voles.


SEE ALSO
Coal proposal promises 100 jobs
15 Aug 07 |  South of Scotland
'Longest conveyor belt' launched
16 Mar 07 |  South of Scotland
Mine link wins 10m grant
05 Feb 02 |  Scotland

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