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'Promising' signs for zinc mining in Cumbria

A mining company says its exploratory drilling for zinc in the Pennines is looking very promising.

The drilling is taking place in the Nenthead area, near Alston.

It was once a big mining area and in its time had one of the most productive lead mines in the country.

Canadian company Minco wants to bring mining back to the area around Nenthead if the mineral supplies are sufficient.

It could lead to the creation of between 300 and 500 jobs.

The exploratory work is expected to take several years.

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Mining history unveiled at Day of the Region

Children gather for the unveiling of a piece of mining heritage Credit: ITV News
The wheel represents the area's heritage and mining culture Credit: ITV News
A piece of Kirkconnel's history was looked upon by its future generations Credit: ITV News
Balloons were released at the Day of the Region in Dumfries and Galloway Credit: ITV News

Day of the Region launched in D&G

Dumfries and Galloway's 'Day of the Region' is being launched in the old mining town of Kirkconnel today.

A miner's wheel is being unveiled to mark the start of the project, which encourages communities to make the most of what's on their doorstep.

More than 250 events, funded by the Dumfries and Galloway LEADER project, will take place in ten communities on Saturday.

"Our environment and economy have been scarred" says Scottish Lib Dems leader

"Our environment and our economy have been scarred by the Scottish Government's failures on open-cast mining. We need assurances that lessons have been learnt.

"But more importantly, we need confidence that these failings will not be repeated. The unrestored mines have left local communities environmentally bankrupt.

"Taxpayers may also face the unacceptable burden of meeting the multimillion-pound hole in restoration costs.''

– Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

"The Scottish Government will shortly hold a consultation on more effective regulation.

"More effective regulation is the principal way of improving confidence in the sector and it will keep onside the insurers and banks that underwrite risks on opencast mining.

"Asking the right questions about policy and practice, about site surveys and restoration guarantees will pave a way forward so that future sites are run to the best of standards and progressively and appropriately restored."

– Fergus Ewing, Energy Minister for Scotland

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Calls to improve the Scottish coal industry

The Duke of Buccleuch with the Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing earlier this year Credit: ITV News Border

A consultation is being launched on how to improve the way the coal industry is regulated in Scotland.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing says the move is part of Scottish Government efforts to save and create jobs and ensure appropriate restoration of coaled-out mines.

It comes before a Holyrood debate on open-cast mining this afternoon.

Scottish Coal and Aardvark TMC both collapsed earlier this year.

Glenmuckloch mine in Dumfriesshire was one of several sites at risk of being left untouched, after a court ruled liquidators did not have to pay to clean them up.

A restoration project only got underway because of a collaboration between Hargreaves, the Duke of Buccleuch, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Mines Trust.

Ambitious mining plans revealed

Five hundred jobs could be created if plans go ahead to bring lead and zinc mining back to a village in the Pennines.

Commercial mining started in Nenthead near Alston more than 300 years ago, and after it reached a peak in the middle of the 19th century, before declining.

An Irish mining company thinks there might be previously undiscovered resources still there as John Bevir reports:

In the report John speaks to Dick Phillips fromAlston Moor Parish Council and local resident Alex Martin.

Criticism over mining plans

Nenthead used to have a mine, but it was closed and turned into a museum.

The new plans have attracted some criticism because of the impact on the local environment, but the company behind the plans have been quick to point out that current mines are significantly cleaner than mines used to be.

They have also warned that the vast majority of exploration works do not lead on to mines being opened, but have said they won't know for certain until more boreholes are drilled.

$1million being spent on drilling

$1million is being spent on drilling exploratory boreholes, which could lead to the creation of a new lead and zinc mine in the North Penines.

If the project goes ahead, up to 500 jobs could be created at the mine just outside the village of Nenthead, near Alston, just a few miles from the border between Cumbria, County Durham and Northumbria.

One 350 metre borehole has already been drilled by the mineral exploration company Minco Plc.

Two further boreholes are planned, which could rise to eight, depending on what the initial ones reveal.

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