THE company behind the controversial opencast mining site in a remote village caused a discharge of trade effluent into a nearby burn.

The firm behind the contentious Halton Lea Gate mining site, HM Project Developments, which was represented by global financial consultancy firm Duff & Phelps' London office, appeared at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court last Wednesday where it admitted four breaches of the Environmental Permit.

Between October 14 and 17 2018, the company caused a water discharge of trade effluent into the Harley Burn, and created a discharge activity at a site other than at a permitted discharge point.

The firm also failed to ensure a copy of the Environmental Permit was available for site employees between October 15 and 29 2018.

In addition, the firm failed to manage and operate activities at the mine site according to a system which identified and minimised the risks of pollution between October 15 and 30 2018.

John Stephen Hornsby (57), of Cheshire, was charged individually of committing all four offences, but denied them all.

HM Project Developments will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on February 24, while Hornsby will stand trial at the same time.