The Banks Group, a multinational property development, mineral extraction, and land reclamation firm, is uniquely addressing both the energy demands and community interests of Northumberland, England. The mining project won The Banks Group a BE Award in the category “Civil: Planned Development.”

The BE Awards of Excellence, which are presented at the annual BE Conference (, honour the extraordinary work of Bentley users improving the world’s infrastructure. These projects set benchmarks for their industries, and showcase the imagination and technical mastery of the organizations that created them. This year’s BE Awards of Excellence ceremony takes place May 22 in Charlotte, N.C.

The Shotton Surface Mining Project will provide high-quality, low-sulphur coal to power Alcan, a major local industry. The coal is the only local reserve capable of meeting Alcan’s requirements over the next ten years. In addition, the mine will provide fireclay and shale for local brick makers.

Key project innovations include immediate commencement of site restoration and screening the mining operations from public view. This will include public access to a unique landscape encompassing natural and historic aspects of the west and north regions. To the south, a landform park will be developed from the soil cuttings of the mine, featuring a female figure lying alongside a series of lakes reflecting the local landscape. This centrepiece land art form, designed by architect and artist Charles Jencks, will span over 1600 feet long and up to 98 feet high.

Bentley’s land development site design software and 3D and PDF tools have been employed in all aspects of the design of the Shotton Surface Mining Project, including the open pit mines, restoration designs, access roads, and other site features. By standardizing on Bentley’s single, common data format, The Banks Group was able to meet its workflow requirements for various engineering disciplines and eliminate time-consuming file translations.

As Alan Sherwen, group ICT manager of The Banks Group, says, “Bentley software has transformed the speed, accuracy, and detail with which we are able to model our sites.”