ATH growth ahead of plans

COAL-mining group ATH Resources yesterday said plans to expand its operations in Scotland were running ahead of schedule.

ATH said decisions on planning permissions for a new opencast site at Netherton and an extension to its Leigh Glenmuir site, both in Ayrshire, were expected within the coming months.

The sites are expected to increase the company's coal reserves by between three and four million tonnes.

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The update came in a trading announcement by the Aim-listed group which warned that interim results will be slightly below expectations due to planning delays at a new reclamation facility in Nottinghamshire.

The company yesterday said that sales volumes for the six-month period were around 775,000 tonnes, 8 per cent lower than the same period last year and reflected the effect of bad weather during the autumn and winter.

The proposed Netherton mine, which is close to its existing facility at Skares Road, would create an estimated 30 jobs.