ST NINIAN’S opencast mine near Kelty has a new start, with news that coaling and restoration operations will resume. Hargreaves Services PLC has reached an agreement with Fife Council and the other regulatory bodies to win the remaining coal and fully restore the site which will create around 25 jobs over the next year.
Following the coaling works, the land art project conceived by Charles Jenks will be completed and the site restored for leisure and public access.
Council Leader Alex Rowley welcomed the news and said: “It’s welcome news to hear that operations will resume at St Ninians after the recent uncertainty in the coal industry. I particularly welcome the fact that the site will be restored within a year or so given the prominence of the location and that jobs will be secured for that period.
“The coal industry is coming through a very difficult period which has seen the closure of a number of mines across Fife, namely Muir Dean by Crossgates and Blair House by Oakley. Muir Dean is particularly critical because of the costly pumping required to manage the Fordell Day Level and negotiations with the landowners and other regulatory bodies are underway to secure the restoration of that site as early as possible. I hope to report on further progress on this site within the near future.
“With regard to Blair House, I am disappointed that to date the bond provider has declined to engage in any meaningful discussions with the Council in relation to the bond provided by the previous developer as insurance against the failure to restore the site.
“The coal industry is an important asset to Fife and is recognised as such by the Council. We also recognise the importance of ensuring any mining works are fully financed with clear restoration plans and insurance policies in place should anything go wrong.”
Peter Gillatt, Managing Director of Hargreaves Production said they were happy to reach an agreement with the Council over St Ninians: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Fife Council to recommence coal recovery at St Ninians, generating employment for around 25 skilled workers and enabling Hargreaves to ensure the completion of the land art restoration project.
“As a responsible developer, Hargreaves will continue to work very closely with the Council, the local community and other stakeholders to deliver this important project”.
This coaling is permitted by the existing planning consent for the site. It does not involve reserves previously applied for at Loch Fitty.
It is anticipated that coaling works will continue until Spring next year and that the site will be fully restored by Autumn 2014.
Photo shows Mr Rowley with Mr Gillatt on site with officials at Kelty